Community mourns loss of six

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 7, 2002

More than 1,500 relatives, family, friends and neighbors gathered together on Wednesday at Luverne High School for what people are calling the largest memorial service they can ever remember in Crenshaw County.

Six hearses, both white and black in color, were lined up in front of the main entrance to the auditorium of the school, where people say more than 13 members of ministry came to speak to those gathering in mourning of the victims of a homicide that occurred on South Moody's Crossroads, in the rural community of Rutledge sometime between Monday night, Aug. 26 and Tuesday night, Aug. 27.

Investigation officials are saying that in the history of Alabama there have never been six victims of homicide on one scene.

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Preparations began over last weekend for the service, which involved several funeral homes assisting Bell-Hudson Funeral Home of Luverne with transportation and other arrangements necessary prior to any funeral.

Area florists were working overtime since the middle of last week to fill the orders for flowers sent to the surviving families and for the service. Orders for flowers have come from as far away as California.

&uot;This is something that has really touched the hearts of the all people, not just here, but all across the nation,&uot; a lady said before walking into the auditorium to pay her respects.

After approximately 1-1/2 hours in service, throngs of mourners followed the white caskets out of the school building.

Led by law enforcement officials at the county, state and local levels, more than five miles worth of vehicles proceeded in a motorcade from the school, north on First Street, then north on U.S. 331 to Alabama Highway 10, where they proceeded to Crenshaw County Road 77, before arriving at the Little Hill Baptist Church, where the bodies were to be laid to rest.

Traffic was stalled for nearly 20 minutes while the motorcade proceeded, but motorists did not mind at all.

One motorist said, &uot;This is terrible, that is a lot of people killed all at one time n I feel sorry for their families.&uot;

The man also spoke about the world-famous nickname of Luverne, the county seat of Crenshaw County.

&uot;They call this the friendliest city in the south, and looking at all the cars filled with people in that funeral, you can easily see why n when one suffers, they all suffer.&uot;