The Albany Police Department gang Unit keeps its eyes on the funeral of reputed gang leader Dontavious Santez Luke at St. Mary Baptist Church in East Albany.
ALBANY, Ga. — Friends and family turned out by the hundreds to mourn the death of reputed Southside Bloods gang leader 24-year-old Dontavious Santez Luke at church in East Albany.
Luke was murdered by rival Rattlers gang members in the parking lot of Shackelford Shopping Center before 4 a.m. Aug. 26, according to law enforcement reports.
Four men have been arrested in connection with the killing of Luke. So far only one faces murder charges. Other murder charges are expected.
Wearing outfits from Sunday go to church clothes to T-Shirts that proclaimed “In Loving Memory of Dontavious Luke” on the front and “Money, Power, Respect” on the other, the mature and the young came to say goodbye.
“This is a humble and peaceful demonstration,” said Vondermere Upshaw, a friend of the Luke family. “Isn’t nothing going to happen like the cops think.”
The Albany Police Department Gang Unit and other law enforcement agencies stood by St. Mary Baptist Church on the 800 block of Swift Street during the funeral service. Both sides of Swift Street and streets off it were lined with parked cars.
“I have never seen this many cars out here on the street,” a neighbor who preferred not to give his name said. “It has never been like this.”
Mourners leaving the church before the body was moved to the hearse were choked with emotions. Some had other style black shirts that stated “Best in Paradise, South Side Bread.” Bread is long-standing slang for money.
“What no one will say, what no one will tell you,” Upshaw said, “is that he (Luke) gave a lot of school supplies to kids.” He was trying to get out of that. This might do some good. Wake the kids up.”
Whether older or younger very few people wished to talk about their loss or be identified. One man did say that he was Luke’s friend.
“He was cool. He had a kind heart.”