This was a goodbye for a friend and a brother. For a man who was still a boy. For a life cut unfairly short.
Under big caps, the artifice of their indestructibility worn away by their grief, Jye McWatters’ teenage peers cried on one another’s narrow shoulders as they watched one of their own disappear behind a closing funeral home curtain.
More than 200 people crowded in for the Thursday afternoon funeral - a brief, verse-filled service punctuated by music from the 19-year-old’s world.
There was Puff Daddy’s I’ll Be Missing You as Mr McWatters’ family entered.
They departed to See You Again (the Furious 7 version).
At the front of the service sat a casket wrapped with a picture of a motorcyclist on the open road.
Outside, mourners sent white helium balloons into the sky in a picture of peaceful release.
But tensions are high in the seaside suburb as the police investigation into Mr McWatters’ shooting death approaches the end of its second week.
His brothers found him in his Kippax Street front yard about 1pm Boxing Day, hours after he had bid his family goodnight, told his grandmother he loved her, and gone to bed.
He wore no shoes and had a bleeding wound to the back of his head.
How or why he left the house, and who killed him, are the subjects of ongoing police inquiry.
Meantime, theories abound and anger at the perpetrator is mounting.
“A lot of people have been slandered,” one mourner told the Mercury.
“Everyone’s fearing that stuff is going to erupt.”
Police say Mr McWatters was in conflict with several parties in the lead-up to his death.
But the teen also had a wide circle of friends and supporters whose loyalty has not dimmed.
“It [the shooting] was a dog act," another mourner told the Mercury.
“He was a harmless boy. He wouldn’t hurt anyone.
“He was such a beautiful boy. No one deserved this – but not him.”
Mr McWatters’ distraught best friend Jesse Maude was among those who bid him farewell on Thursday.
“He was the best person to know,” he told the Mercury.
“He was a smarta---, but he was our smarta---.”
Contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000
NB. Jye’s family gave the Mercury permission to attend the funeral.