HOUSTON – Funeral services were held Tuesday for the 11-year-old who was stabbed to death while walking from school last week.
Services for Josue Flores began at 9 a.m. with a procession at La Paz Funeral Home. His funeral service was held at the Holy Name Catholic Church on Cochran Street and his burial immediately followed at Historic Hollywood Cemetery.
Hundreds of people packed into a North Houston funeral home Monday to remember and honor Josue Flores, 11, who was murdered last week on his walk home from school.
"What could he have done?" Mayra Requena, another student's mother, said. "I have an 11 year old and a 10 year old and I also have an 8 year old and I can't imagine what this mom is going through."
"He was a really beautiful child, caring, compassionate, always at everybody's service," Juan Flores, Josue's father, said.
Classmates at Marshall Middle School were among those in attendance at the La Paz Funeral Home.
Many kids left crying.
"He was such a loving, smart boy. He's never been mean to anyone, whenever someone was mean to him he would say: "I'm sorry let's be friends," classmate, Benisa Garcia, said.
"We talk about it at school sometimes because this could happen to any of us," Vicedany Valle, a student, said. "Sometimes I have to walk home from school and my mom, sometimes she gets scared, like if I walk home from school something bad will happen to me."
Josue Flores was the middle child of seven.
Among the mourners, Josue's teachers were also in attendance.
"He wanted to have good grades all the time, he always laughed he always smiled (and) he was always very positive about everything," math teacher Hyrum Estupinion said.
Students from nearby Jefferson Davis High School's mariachi band performed during the mass and reflected on the little boy who could have been their little brother.
"He's young. He was just 11-years-old. I'm 18 (and) I got to live, he didn't. It affects all of us," Gabriel Molina said.
Father Anil Thomas who gave the homily during the funeral mass and called for unity.
"We need to be united, we need to protect our children and watch over others too," he said.
Flores' family has set up a GoFundMe account.
"He loved to go to the store, so I would take him to the store. He loved soccer, and he loved to play on my tablet," Juan Flores said.
Both Juan Flores and his eldest daughter, Guadalupe, said Monday they support the Houston Police Department efforts to find Josue's killer, an unidentified person, who remained at large Monday.
"I know they're taking it into their own hearts, taking it personal. I feel really blessed that HPD is working hard," Guadalupe Flores said.
Mass will be held Tuesday at the Holy Name Catholic Church on Cochran Street. His burial will follow shortly after at 12:15 p.m. in the Historic Hollywood Cemetery.
On the day Flores was brutally slain nearly a week ago, Carlos Garcia had just gotten to his house across the street from the crime scene.
"I just ended up coming home, found that little boy right there on the grass laying down full of blood," Garcia said.
Garcia said the sight of such a young lifeless body was one he'll never forgot, for all the wrong reasons.
"A cop had just barely arrived so I'm guessing it just happened a couple of minutes (earlier). Maybe I would have gotten here sooner maybe I would've seen something and (tried) to stop it," Garcia said.
Amidst the grief there is also resolve from a community that will never stop searching for justice. A thought seen on this poster, "To Josue's killer, you will never find peace, you will never forget this innocent face, you will always be haunted by what you did."
Monday afternoon, the mayor, along with other city and county leaders, announced a renewed effort to catch Josue's killer. All of the Police Department's available resources are going toward making that happen.
"There is somebody out there that knows something about the person who committed this crime," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
At only 11 years old, the impact Josue's death has made is evident by the number of people still turning out to his memorial.
Many want justice to see for his family along with closure in the form of an arrest.
"I hope they catch him pretty soon because he's still out there. You never know, he may think he got away with it and may do it again," Garcia said.
Josue's killer is still on the loose. Investigators are asking for the public's help in identifying a suspect.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the person responsible for Josue's murder.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Tips may also be sent by text message by texting TIP610 plus the information to CRIMES. All tipsters may remain anonymous.