Family members chase stolen hearse carrying body of dead LA teen

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
A hearse carrying the casket and body of a deceased teenager was stolen while sitting idle in front of Ebenezer Baptist Church in South Los Angeles Saturday. | (Credit: KTLA)

LOS ANGELES (Christian Examiner) -- A hearse carrying the casket and body of 19-year-old deceased Jonté Lee Reed was reportedly stolen during a Saturday morning funeral, Dec. 27, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in South Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times reported the theft took place around 11 a.m. while the funeral director, Kenneth Little, prepared flowers for the youth's funeral inside the church. The vehicle was reportedly left unoccupied with the motor running outside of the church.

Family members en route to the funeral were notified of the theft and chased a hearse matching the description of the stolen vehicle. They reportedly pulled the driver over before engaging in a verbal and physical altercation with him, Little said.

Reed's aunt Johnnie Fortune told local News KTLA5 that after her family pursued the vehicle they returned it to the church.

"A lot of the people went chasing after the car and brought the hearse back on a truck," she said. KTLA5 also reported Los Angeles Police officials suspected the man was mentally unstable and would be charged with theft.

Since the body appeared undisturbed, funeral services continued as planned. Reed was shot and killed Dec. 9 when someone fired into a car where the young man rode as a passenger.