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Mourners gather at Seattle arena to remember D’Vonne Pickett Jr.

caption: D'Vonne Pickett's wife KeAnna  speaks at his memorial accompanied by their three children, at Climate Pledge Arena on Nov. 10, 2022.
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D'Vonne Pickett's wife KeAnna speaks at his memorial accompanied by their three children, at Climate Pledge Arena on Nov. 10, 2022.
KUOW/Amy Radil

People gathered at Seattle’s Climate Pledge arena Thursday to mourn the death of D’Vonne Pickett Jr, the sports coach and business owner who was shot and killed three weeks ago. Pickett’s casket was draped in thousands of flowers as hundreds of people dressed in black gathered in the arena to celebrate his life.

Pickett was remembered as a pillar of his Central District community, and someone with many dreams and plans in the works. Cameron Dollar was Pickett’s basketball coach when he attended Seattle University.

“His worldview, his dreams went way beyond the basketball court. His true passion was to be a great man,” Dollar said, as well as a great husband, father and son.

Pickett’s grandfather Maurice Hunter said the loss of a grandson was an unnatural one that he was struggling to forgive. He called on people to reject the violence that led to his grandson’s death.

“When you take somebody’s life, it’s final,” Hunter said.

“There’s no coming back. Saying, ‘please forgive me’ – that’s not really going to cut it. So we have to learn to start loving each other more.”

Mayor Bruce Harrell struggled to keep his composure as he described getting a call from his son to alert him that Pickett had been shot outside his shipping business on Oct. 19. Harrell described growing up in the same neighborhood as Pickett and playing sports in the same programs.

He called on everyone to care for Pickett’s family and community.

“We have to love one another and we have to do everything humanly possible to save our own community,” Harrell said. “Because no one’s gonna do it but us.”

Pickett’s business, The Postman, was named in honor of his great-grandfather, Jacques Chappell, a letter carrier in the Central District.

His wife KeAnna said they shared all the same goals.

“The mission that D’Vonne and I believed in, our blood sweat and tears, was keeping communities connected, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do,” she said as their three young children joined her onstage.

A man has been charged with first-degree murder in Pickett’s death.

Pastor Danny Cage said others must now take up where Pickett left off.

“His marathon has ended, but he’s passed the baton to you," Cage said. "And though that may be heavy, how are you going to be the pillar that holds up his family, that holds up the community, that continues to grow his work and keep it alive?”

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