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Published: Thursday, 12/20/2012

Funeral remembers man whose death sparked riot

Benton Harbor violence lasted for two nights

Mourners grieve outside Terrance Shurn’s funeral in Benton Township, Mich. Mr. Shurn’s death sparked riots. Mourners grieve outside Terrance Shurn’s funeral in Benton Township, Mich. Mr. Shurn’s death sparked riots.

A motorcyclist whose death during a high-speed police chase sparked two nights of rioting was remembered at his funeral yesterday as a kind and loving man.

More than 500 mourners filled Greater Faith Apostolic Church to pay their respects to Terrance Shurn. About a third wore white T-shirts in homage to the 27-year-old, whose nickname was "T-shirt."

About 15 motorcycles took part in the funeral procession from the church to the nearby cemetery where Mr. Shurn was buried.

The Rev. James Atterberry, Jr., said although Mr. Shurn's June 16 death and the rioting that followed in the impoverished city of Benton Harbor were tragic, positive changes already were taking place.

"Benton Harbor came together and now the whole world is listening to us," said Mr. Atterberry, a local pastor and member of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners.

White police officers in adjacent Benton Township chased Mr. Shurn, who was black, on his motorcycle into Benton Harbor.

Mr. Shurn died when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a vacant building, authorities said.

Hundreds of residents in predominantly black Benton Harbor rioted for two nights after Mr. Shurn died.

At least 21 homes were destroyed, several people were injured, and several police and fire vehicles were damaged.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm visited Benton Harbor on Thursday and promised to devote more resources to improving the lives of the city's residents.

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