More than 200 friends, relatives mourn loss of slain Jeannette teen
School district issues two-hour delay
February 9, 2015 10:33 PM
The casket of Ryan Mangan is carried out of Sacred Heart Church in Jeanette today.
People enter Sacred Heart Church in Jeannette this morning for the funeral of Ryan Mangan.
Ryan Mangan was found dead Wednesday of a gunshot wound at his Jeannette home.
The casket of Ryan Mangan is carried out of Sacred Heart Church in Jeanette.
People wait for the Ryan Mangan's casket to be removed from the hearse in front of Sacred Heart Church.
Family and friends leave after Ryan Mangan's funeral today at Sacred Heart Church in Jeanette.
By Lexi Belculfine / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As seven men and teenage boys escorted Ryan Mangan’s casket to the altar, pew after pew of classmates, friends and relatives cried and consoled each other.
Teenage girls shook as they sobbed into tissues.
About 250 people — at least half teenagers — gathered at Sacred Heart Church in Jeannette at 10 a.m. Monday for the funeral of the 16-year-old found shot to death in his Jeannette home Wednesday.
“We don’t understand. We’re not quite sure. Things don’t make sense,” the Rev. Paul A. Lisik said. “You and I should not be here for Ryan in this way.”
Ryan’s mother contacted police about 6 p.m. Wednesday, saying she found her son dead, with a gunshot wound to the face, according to a criminal complaint.
“They say the hardest thing in this world is for a mother to bury a child,” Father Lisik said. “It shouldn’t happen.”
The Mass of Christian Burial concluded around 11:30, as a cold, hard winter rain fell from a gray sky. A private interment immediately followed at Sacred Heart Cemetery.
Outside the sanctuary, a poster board was filled with pictures of the Jeannette Senior High School junior as a baby lying on a Terrible Towel, a toddler in a red wagon and a boy at the beach. About 50 of his friends gathered nearby after the Mass.
Emily DeNillo, a senior at Penn-Trafford High School, said the death of her “sweet, lovable, smart” friend finally hit her Monday.
“I think all of us are questioning God every day. Just why? And I think we came to realize we’ll never get those answers,” she said after the service.
Ryan’s death made national news, as police said they identified Ryan’s killer through a “selfie” the teenager posted to Snapchat.
The image, which had “MAXWELL” written on it, shows Maxwell Marion Morton, 16, of Jeannette next to Ryan’s body, which police said they found in the same position and condition.
Police said Maxwell confessed to shooting Ryan and “leaving the victim dead in his room.” Charged with criminal homicide, first-degree murder and illegally possessing a 9 mm handgun, Maxwell is being held without bond in the Westmoreland County jail awaiting a Feb. 19 preliminary hearing.
Ryan’s girlfriend, Bri Kelly, 15, a Norwin High School student, said she misses Ryan, whom she credits with turning her life around.
“That’s something you get once in a lifetime,” she said.
Jeannette schools operated on a two-hour delay Monday morning to allow attendance at the funeral. Grief counselors will be available in all of the district’s schools over the next few days.
Jeannette police will be at the schools, inside and outside, at various times throughout the school day, he said.
“The district takes all threats and statements seriously,” Mr. Hutcheson said. “… In the past two years, the [Jeannette City School District] had gone to great efforts to increase security measures in our buildings. Please know this effort will continue in earnest.”
He strongly encouraged parents to listen closely to their children and contact the school or authorities if they are expressing concerns for the safety of themselves or others.