HOUSTON – About 500 mourners filled a Houston church to capacity Tuesday for the funeral for an 11-year-old boy who was stabbed to death as he walked home from school.
Josue Flores' slaying a week ago remains unsolved.
"It's like a wound that's still left open and we pray that will close quickly for the family," the Rev. Anil Thomas of Holy Name Catholic Church said.
Some of Josue's classmates from Marshall Middle School were among those attending services. A high school mariachi band provided music.
"He was such a loving, smart boy," one classmate, Benisa Garcia, said.
Some classmates were crying as his casket was taken from a funeral home for a procession to the church. Following the funeral mass, Josue was buried in Houston's 120-year-old Historic Hollywood Cemetery.
The sixth-grader was walking home from a science club meeting after school May 17 when he was attacked on a sidewalk a couple of blocks from his home in a neighborhood just north of downtown Houston. Witnesses said they heard loud screaming and saw Josue struggling with a man. The boy collapsed on the grass near the sidewalk and the man ran off. A bystander flagged down police and alerted them to the wounded boy, who was taken to a hospital with multiple stab wounds and pronounced dead a short time later.
A 31-year-old man with a long criminal history was arrested last week for the slaying, but a murder charge against him was dropped Friday when detectives found evidence to support his alibi that he wasn't involved in the killing.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has urged anyone with information about the slaying to come forward. A $15,000 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
On Tuesday, police declined to say whether Turner's plea had provided any new clues toward solving the case.
"This is still an active investigation," police spokesman Victor Senties said. "Obviously, we're not going to discuss specific tips."