Family members attend the funeral for US Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger ambush.
Mourners filled a church in Florida on Saturday to honor a US soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman.
Sgt La David T Johnson’s pregnant widow, Myeshia, held the arm of an Army officer as she led her family, dressed in white, into Christ the Rock Community Church in Cooper City. The family asked that reporters remain outside.
Flags across Florida flew at half-staff as Johnson’s remains were afterwards transported to be buried at Hollywood Memorial Gardens.
Several service members were in attendance, in salute, as was Rep Frederica Wilson (D – Miami) who has been embroiled in a row with Trump over a seemingly insensitive phone call the president had with Johnson’s family.
Myeshia carried a folded American flag in her arms and kissed the top of her husband’s coffin before she laid it down. A family member helped the couple’s two-year-old son, La David Jr, do the same.
Johnson, 25, was one of four US troops killed on October 4 in an ambush in Niger in an attack by militants linked to the Islamic State group. Four soldiers from Niger also died.
Members of the community showed up outside the church to show support for the Johnson family.
Debbie Valin and her teenage daughter, Michelle Shawn, held a US flag outside the church for more than an hour before the service.
‘We are here for the military. We are grateful for the people who serve,’ said Valin, whose grandson just completed Marine boot camp.
Aside from his widow and young son, Johnson also leaves behind six-year-old daughter Ah’leesya.
According to Local 10 News, Johnson graduated from high school in 2010 and worked at a Walmart in Pembroke Pines for several years until he joined the military in 2014.
Friends say he didn’t smoke nor drink and he never experimented with drugs.
He met his wife, Myeshia Manuel, when he was six years old and the two eventually wed in August 2014. She is set to deliver their third child in January, a girl who will be named La’Shee.