PATERSON - Friends and family of a 12-year-old girl who was fatally struck by a bullet said goodbye as they celebrated a life cut short.
A wake and funeral were held at Community Baptist Church of Love in Paterson Friday evening in honor of Genesis Rincon.
Colorful balloons were tied to the fence in front of the church as well as inside, and hundreds of people were expected.
READ MORE: New Jersey Crime Stories
The crowd listened as Genesis's father Alexis bravely spoke to the congregation. Hundreds more waited outside, and many of them were children.
Justice Pettway, 12, struggled to fight back tears as she talked about her friend. "I came to support my friend and her family."
A total of three men have been charged in connection with Rincon's death. At an arraignment for 19-year-old Jhymiere Moore Friday, his attorney told reporters his client did not kill Rincon in the shooting last Saturday.
Moore entered a plea of not guilty to the murder charge.
The little girl's mother began to sob and then ran out of the courtroom.
The crime is shining a spotlight on the number of shootings and homicides in Paterson since the city lost 125 cops to layoffs in 2011.