SOUTH BEND, Ind. 2-year-old John Swoveland Jr., killed by a stray bullet Wednesday evening in South Bend, was laid to rest Sunday afternoon.
"It was very overwhelming. the way the family and community came together for that young man was outstanding," said Rev. Greg Brown, who attended the funeral at the Palmer Funeral Home-Guisinger Chapel in South Bend.
Friends, Family and community members alike came together for the service, which focused on the way John Jr. touched so many people during his short time on earth.
"People spoke about so many memories," said Rev. Brown, who described the story of a happy John Jr. at the South Bend Chocolate Factory. "It touched some hearts and made some kids smile and even held back some tears."
Police say the toddler was struck by a bullet while playing in a front yard of a South Bend home on the 1000 block of Campeau Street with his 7-year-old sister shortly after 6 p.m.
Police say the shooting is connected to another shooting a little over one block east, near the intersection of Campeau and Arthur.
Metro Homicide said Thursday an argument may have occurred between two rival groups which escalated into shots fired.
No arrests have been made in the shooting.
Local leaders, like 4th District City Council Member Dr. Fred Ferlic said tragedies like these shed a light on the serious issue of gun violence in the South Bend community.
"This is a terrible, indescribable tragedy," Dr. Ferlic said. "A two-year-old child with his future ahead of him and like one of the family members said, 'It was senseless."'
Ferlic described a four-tiered plan aimed at reducing this type of violence in the community. It involves the coordination of the South Bend police, local businesses, universities and non-profits as well as community members.
"The citizens need to be involved with a citizen's watch," he said. "Other communities that are aggressive can solve it, so South Bend can solve it."