Friends and family said Joseph Massenburg just wanted to help others. But the Matteson teen was shot and killed during a trip to volunteer with a charity. Anthony Ponce attended his funeral.
Friends and family gathered Wednesday to mourn the death of an AmeriCorps volunteer from southwest suburban Matteson.
Joseph Massenburg, 18, was found shot to death last week in New Orleans, forcing AmeriCorps to pull two of its National Civilian Community Corps teams out of the area.
Massenburg, who had just received his training at the Vicksburg base camp, arrived with his team-members in New Orleans on March 12 and had just begun working with Green Light New Orleans, a local nonprofit that works to install energy-efficient lighting.
NCCC members are required to live near the organization with which they are working. The Green Light New Orleans headquarters is about six blocks away from where Massenburg was gunned down.
Massenburg, a recent high school graduate from suburban Illinois, had joined AmeriCorps because he wanted to dedicate his life to public service, said his father Andre Massenburg.
Both of Massenburg's parents are ministers at a church in their hometown of Matteson, Ill., and said their son spent most of his youth in the pews, where he honed what they called a "natural gift" for giving back to people.
Massenburg's parents said they were told by police that their son had been talking on the phone when he was shot, but police have released no additional details on possible suspects or motives in the killing.