NorthingtonRev. D. Crist Northington, pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church, speaks at shooting victim Sidney Wakefield’s funeral Thursday.

A funeral service for 26-year-old Sidney Wakefield, one of two men shot to death on Red Bank’s West Side earlier this month, was by turns solemn and joyful yesterday.

“I wish we could say this is something that’s totally unexpected, but we know where we live,” Horace Jackson, of Orange, told the crowd that filled the Calvary Baptist Church on Bridge Avenue for his youngest brother’s funeral.

“But it’s not the police’s job to regulate crime in our neighborhoods — it’s ours. Sooner or later, we have to start to take better care of each other.”

Wakefield funeral copy

Horace Jackson, center, remembers his slain brother, depicted at left on a button and at right in the memorial program. (Click to enlarge)

CherieWakefield’s girlfriend, Cherie Fitzgerald, sings at the service.

Wakefield, of Long Branch, and his friend Joseph Fann, of Red Bank, were killed in the early hours of February 10 after what authorities said was a chance encounter at a local gas station with three men that, hours later, turned violent on Locust Avenue.

Three suspects are in custody.

Rev. Crist Northington, in an apparent reference to law enforcement authorities’ contention that the assailant was trying to steal cocaine from one or both victims, said he would not judge the deceased.

“I have a real problem with folks standing in judgment of one another, because all of us are sinners,” he said. Judgment belongs only to the Lord, he said.

An aspiring rapper who lived in Long Branch, Wakefield was remembered for his high spirits and love of music. Another brother, Wayne Wakefield of Neptune, recalled that they were to do a show the night of February 10.

“The last message I got from him was, ‘We’re going to the studio. We’re gonna take it to the top,'” he said.

Fann was buried last week after a private ceremony in Middletown. The service for Wakefield was delayed as his three surviving brothers and friends attempted to raise money to cover the costs. Sales of t-shirts, buttons and other fundraising efforts enabled the event. Burial was in Hazlet.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution is asked to contact Wayne Wakefield by email or at 732.383.3507.

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