Friends and family said goodbye Thursday to a 21-year-old student who was found shot to death in Harlem. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Friends and family of Matt Shaw held on to each other for support Thursday, turning to their faith.
"God is still in control," said Ellen Leary, Matt's aunt. "I'm truly a believer of that."
But Leary added that it didn't feel like that now, though.
Shaw graduated from Le Moyne College in Syracuse in May and came home to visit family and friends on July 4. Just before midnight, he was shot dead walking to or from a store.
"This is the hardest thing I've had to go through," said Matt's brother Jerome.
Jerome spent the day hearing from others mourners saying what he already knows: his little brother was one of the good ones, on his way to SUNY Albany for graduate school in the fall. His was a promising life cut short.
"He was going right back to school," Jerome said. "He had one more month to go, a month and a half to go before he was away from this again. The fact that he couldn't make that and they took his life, it's just really really sad. It's heartbreaking."
His mother says he wanted to play pro ball but always put studying first. It's a lesson family friends said he was already teaching others.
"(He) inspired a couple of kids in the neighborhood go back to college," said Joyce Johnson, a family friend.
"He was the type of kid who wanted to teach others what he learned," Leary said.
Matt's loved ones want the city to learn from his death, a lesson they say just doesn't seem to sink in.
"The violence has got to stop," Leary said.
Matt's family wants people to come forward with information about his death and not be scared. His mother is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.