ST. LOUIS • The eulogy had just been given to a standing-room-only crowd gathered in a midtown mortuary Tuesday morning to say goodbye to David "Bo" Terell Davis Sr., who had been shot to death 11 days earlier.
Only about five people had streamed past the casket before gunfire erupted anew outside the front door of the Reliable Funeral Home, sending a packed crowd of confused mourners diving to the floor and ducking behind walls.
The volley of shots just before noon killed two men and wounded one in what Police Chief Dan Isom said was a gang hit.
"The only thing I heard was boom, boom, boom, that's all," said Nelson Thomas Sr., 82, the owner of funeral home at 3958 Washington Boulevard. "I didn't look out to see what's going on. I just heard shots."
He said he took refuge beneath a desk in his nearby office. When he looked up, he saw people rushing out to aid the wounded.
"There were so many people," he said. "You couldn't see nothing. Everyone was hollering and screaming."
Another witness, who declined to give her name, said simply: "Everybody tried to save their lives."
One of the downed men was in a wheelchair, Thomas said. Investigators did not indicate whether he was one of the dead.
Police said no shots were fired inside the funeral home, but were so close to the door that it was hard to tell the difference. Detectives were trying to determine whether the shooting was the result of an argument inside the mortuary that spilled outside.
Witnesses reported that a fourth man was shot in the leg and ran from the scene. Police had not found him, nor determined how he was involved.
Officials had not released the names of the victims as of Tuesday night.
Three men fled the scene after the killings, police said, one dropping a weapon at the scene. There was no detailed description.
Before Tuesday's gunfire, Davis, 27, was remembered as a proud father and someone who loved to shop for the latest fashions. He had three children.
Davis, who lived in the 6300 block of Olive Boulevard in University City, had been found dead Nov. 19 in a yard in the 4700 block of Sacramento Avenue in St. Louis, shot multiple times in the head and chest.
Isom speculated that Tuesday's killings were related to Davis' murder, the product of gang tension.
"Our information suggests that there continues to be an ongoing feud between several gangs in the city of St. Louis and north St. Louis," Isom said.
He said two different calibers of shell casings had been found at the scene.
Thomas, of the funeral home, said there were some 50 casings on the ground. Bullets hit the front door, right under an overhead sign illustrating a pair of hands releasing a white dove. Even the black funeral home SUV was hit.
Business continued at Reliable, which went ahead with someone else's funeral at 4 p.m. despite a cleanup crew outside, washing blood off the driveway.
It wasn't the first funeral home shooting in St. Louis. In 2007, a gunman wounded two people who were leaving the funeral of murder victim William L. Shockley at the A.L. Beal Mortuary, near Bellefontaine Cemetery. One of those victims later died.
Davis' family members had planned to remember him at a gathering at the Carr Square Village Recreation Center after Tuesday's services. That was canceled. Relatives instead went to Davis' grandmother's home, where they declined to comment to a reporter on Tuesday night.
A few hours after Davis' funeral turned violent, Thomas said, police escorted the Reliable hearse to Laurel Hill Cemetery in St. Louis County, where Davis was buried in peace in the presence of only officers and undertakers.
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