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Stanley Freeman Jr. laid to rest following celebration of life

The 16-year-old was honored by hundreds of family and friends before being buried early Tuesday afternoon.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Hundreds gathered Tuesday morning to honor the life of Stanley Freeman Jr, 16.

The Austin-East High School student was shot and killed while driving home from school earlier this month.

Those close to him gathered for a funeral service at the Change Center in East Knoxville to celebrate the life of the boy who loved basketball, fast cars and his family and friends.

Freeman made an impact on so many people.

Many of them wore shirts that said 'Fly High Stan' or 'Long Live Lil Stan.'

RELATED: KPD: No suspects identified in back-to-back teen shootings, investigation making progress

Freeman's loved ones referred to his death not as an end, but as a sunset to a bright life.

Pastor Daryl Arnold of Overcoming Believers Church officiated the service.

It was moved from the sanctuary next door to the Change Center because of how many people attended.

The service included scripture readings, music, prayer and reflection, followed by a long procession of cars leading to Freeman's burial site.

He was one of three Austin-East students to lose his life to gun violence in the past month, along with Justin Taylor and Janaria Muhammad.

Credit: WBIR

All these families are left with memories and hope that their children will inspire change and won't be forgotten.

Pastor Arnold will officiate Muhammad's funeral service the day after Freeman's, at the same place with many of the same people.

Just last week, the Change Center was packed as those same community members gathered at to demand action, calling for tangible steps to put an end to gun violence.

The Austin-East High School assistant principal was at that meeting. He emphasized that community members should be lifted up as they grieve, especially teachers and students at the school.

Those students are back at school after a week out of the building following Muhammad's shooting death.

RELATED: Community gathers in support as Austin-East, Vine students return to school