Before she was fatally shot, Tracey Carrington wrote on her Facebook page, “Be patient while you build your brand.”
At her funeral services Tuesday in Mondawmin, Carrington’s former teacher reminded the onetime Morgan State basketball star’s loved ones of that post.
“Baby girl, your brand is built,” Sidney Brooks said, gesturing to the hundreds of mourners in attendance.
Friends, family and mentors spilled into the aisles and out to the hall of the funeral home Tuesday, where they came to say a final goodbye to Carrington.
On Sept. 6, Carrington, of Dundalk, was gunned down by an unknown assailant while she was leaving a sports bar on Belair Road. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Some mourners came decked Tuesday in brightly colored shirts and jerseys featuring photos of the West Baltimore native or phrases such as “Fly high Tray” — referring to one of Carrington’s many nicknames.
While several speakers acknowledged anger over the circumstances surrounding the 25-year-old’s death, many made a point to say judgment was for God and that Tuesday would only be about love.
“We’re going to have our time to be mad as hell, but in this moment we’re going to celebrate her life,” said the Rev. Harrison Johnson, who delivered the eulogy.
Family, coaches and religious leaders took turns sharing warm memories of the vibrant woman who spent her time being a leader to her peers, substitute teaching at area schools and coaching the varsity girls’ basketball team at Owings Mills High School.
“Everywhere Tracey went, whether it was on the court or off, she gave her best,” Johnson said.
Carrington’s brother, Charles Carrington Jr., called his sister the freest person he knew. Nothing held her back from accomplishing her goals, he said.
“I was supposed to be her big brother, and she inspired me,” he said, holding back tears.
Many times during the service, laughter broke out as anecdotes were shared. A coach remembered her “terrible rapping skills” that kept her teammates entertained on a long drive out of state. A teacher spoke fondly of Carrington’s uncanny ability to ferret out the school’s supply of basketballs.
Dying wasn’t what made this woman special, it was her living, Carrington’s former coach Patrick McDonald said.
“This is but a brief moment in a life that spans happiness, joy, love,” McDonald said.
In the months before her death, Carrington was being called as a prosecution witness in the killing of Stanley B. Brunson Jr., 29, and Shameek Davone Joyner, 28 at a Towson apartment complex in April.
Investigators have not yet said whether there is a connection between the case and Carrington’s death.
The Baltimore County Police Homicide Unit is continuing to investigate the incident.
Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or have any additional information contact police at 410-307-2020.
Baltimore Sun reporters Christina Tkacik, Talia Richman and Jessica Anderson contributed to this story.