‘Long Live Melvin’

Long procession honors Springfield teen who died in shooting

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A crowd gathered at Ferncliff Cemetery on Tuesday morning to say its final goodbye to a Springfield teen who was fatally shot while standing on South Yellow Springs Street nearly two weeks ago.

Melvin Belle Jr. was 16.

On Tuesday, dozens of Belle’s friends and family arrived in a long procession of more than 40 cars, led by a horse-drawn carriage, that traveled from High Street to McCreight Avenue. Some passengers in the procession sat on top of their cars as the line of vehicles moved along.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Many of Belle’s loved ones donned t-shirts and sweatshirts with photos of the smiling teenager and the phrase “Long Live Melvin” written on it. Others carried flowers or wore orange and black accessories, a nod to the Cincinnati Bengals, Belle’s favorite football team.

Belle, a junior at Springfield High School, was a middle linebacker on the Wildcats’ football team.

Belle was among the eldest of his several siblings, of whom he was “overprotective.” His family described him as “loveable,” and always wanting to make others laugh.

The Springfield High School junior and two friends — also teenagers — were standing in front of a building on South Yellow Springs Street after a party just before midnight March 19 when someone opened fire and fled the scene. All three were transported to area hospitals, but Belle died shortly after midnight the next morning.

The two other teens survived, and police have not released their identities. In addition, officers have not said if they have a suspect in custody.

The shooting remains under investigation.

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