Hundreds turn out for funeral of Ethiopian Israeli teen shot by off-duty cop
'Give me my boy back,' says father of 19-year-old Solomon Tekah as he is laid to rest in Haifa; family friend: We didn't pay such a dear price to get to this beloved country so that our children could die at an early age... murdered in front of their brothers
Hundreds of people turned out Tuesday for the funeral of 19-year-old Solomon Tekah, who was shot dead by an off-duty policeman in a Haifa suburb on Sunday.
"Give me my boy back," said Solomon's father Worka Tekah as he delivered his eulogy at the start of the funeral procession to Tel Regev cemetery on the outskirts of the city.
Tekah was shot dead in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Haim when the police officer pulled out his gun while trying to break up a street brawl.
The unnamed officer, who was walking with his family when the incident occurred, was detained and is currently under house arrest.
The policeman said that he opened fire due to concerns for his and his family's safety.
Hundreds from the Ethiopian community in Israel turned out for the eulogies ahead of the burial.
"This is such great pain that cannot be contained," said Rabbi Moshe Baruch at the start of the funeral.
"We see the father, the whole family; it is such great pain, there is no way to console you."
Family friend Asaf Kovna said: "Worka wants to be, is asking to be the last parent to bury his son. We are good soldiers, we are moral people. We did not come to Israel so that our children could be killed.
"We did not make this journey and pay such a dear price to get to this beloved country so that our children would die at an early age and be murdered in front of their brothers, in front of children."
"What hope is there for these children who saw this murder in cold blood?" Kovna said. "What kind of lives do they have? How many scars does this community bear?
"How many people have already lost loved ones? I ask for forgiveness from Solomon, that we were not there to protect him, we abandoned him and a policeman came and killed him. In the name of the young people too, I ask forgiveness. They could have arrested him, jailed him. They are experts at that," Kovna said.
"His father was prepared to sit in jail, but not to stand in front of his son's body," he said. Referring to the police officer who shot Solomon, Kovna called for the authorities "not to release the murderer."
Also present at the funeral were new Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz and the head of Rambam Hospital in Haifa, where Solomon's mother is employed.
The funeral comes a day after hundreds of members of the Ethiopian community took to the streets across Israel in protest at Tekah's killing, the second such incident this year.
Demonstrations took place throughout the country Monday evening, and several main roads and intersections were blocked. Three demonstrators and three police officers were lightly wounded in the central demonstration in Haifa. About 10 other demonstrators were treated at the scene.
Dozens of protesters also gathered Monday night outside the home of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv.
The protesters held signs reading: "Solomon Tekah went off for his summer break and came back in a coffin" and "This was an extrajudicial execution."