Kirkwood boy is buried as brother goes to court
By Heather Ratcliffe
Of the Post-Dispatch

Joseph Long casket
Family and friends of Joseph M. Long also know as "Bam Bam" carry his casket through the Forever Oak Hill cematary in Kirkwood to its final resting place, Monday.
(Gabriel B. Tait/P-D)

Family and friends in Meacham Park buried a 12-year-old boy Monday while the child's brother appeared in court for the first time on charges that he shot and killed a Kirkwood police officer last week.

The case against Kevin Johnson, 19, accused in the slaying of Sgt. William McEntee, will go the grand jury in the next few weeks, authorities said.

Johnson was represented Monday morning during his initial court hearing by Clayton attorney Bradford Kessler. A St. Louis County judge set a date for another appearance Aug. 23.

Asked about defense strategies, Kessler said, "We'll have to look at the advantages and disadvantages of asking for a change of venue."

Meanwhile, hundreds gathered to say goodbye Monday morning to Joseph Long, known as "Bam Bam" to his friends. Joseph died just 90 minutes before McEntee was killed on July 5.

Kirkwood Police Chief Jack Plummer and a police detective visited Forever Oak Hill Funeral Home in Kirkwood to pay their respects to Joseph's family just before the service.

"I just wanted them to know that I support them," he said. "It's just a shame."

Family members said Johnson was distraught over Joseph's death when he attacked McEntee. Joseph collapsed and died from a heart ailment, which he has suffered from since birth, they said.

Joseph's brothers, cousins and friends wore memorial T-shirts with the words "You will always be missed" scrawled under a picture of the smiling child. Some also pinned a red carnation to their chests.

Joseph, who loved swimming, playing computer games and riding his bike, lived with his great-grandparents Anderson and Henrietta Kimble in the Meacham Park neighborhood of Kirkwood.

"Bam Bam's purpose in this life was to bring joy to his family and lift their hearts," said the Rev. Harry Jones, who officiated the service. "We must trust God's wisdom now. He knows what's best."

Lisa Campbell, a family friend, told mourners that Joseph has gone to a better place, where he will no longer know pain.

"Take comfort, that little sparrow is with God," she said. "He doesn't have to worry anymore about his broken heart."

Reporter Heather Ratcliffe
Phone: 314-863-2821