Family and friends gathered to remember the life of Bennie Edwards, who was shot by police outside an Oklahoma City pawn shop last month.
Dozens were present Saturday afternoon to honor Edwards, who was 60. Many shared their memories and talked about what he meant to them.
“Remember my uncle how we do,” Edwards’ niece Ameerah Gaines said. “As the person that he was. How gentle he was.”
The group also released balloons into the sky as tribute. Those who knew Edwards said he was homeless but still found a way to give back. Several called Edwards “The Flower Man.”
“He is a very lovely and kind person,” brother Gregory Edwards said. “He passed out flowers. Sometimes, he sold them, and sometimes, he gave them to people.”
Family members said it’s still hard to stomach what happened just four weeks ago.
“A humble individual, trying to spread love and peace and happiness,” another brother Victor Edwards said. “And you killed that man.”
Oklahoma City police officers were called to a pawn shop because they said Edwards was allegedly bothering people outside the store. When they arrived, police said Edwards was holding a knife.
As officers asked him to drop his weapon, they claimed Edwards rushed towards them. Officers then opened fire.
“I just want to bring awareness to people and I want to show the families that they’re not alone,” activist Yolanda Meekins said. “That we feel their pain and we understand.”
Family said Edwards suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which they believe sparked him to panic when officers approached him.
Two OCPD officers were placed on paid leave as an investigation into the incident continues.