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Mourners Overcome at Funeral for Bowie State Student

DeRell Bonner | , Howsrd University News Service | 9/23/2011, 5:07 p.m.

Rain couldn't stop crowds from coming to pay their last respects to Dominique Frazier,18, at her funeral Friday in Washington. A busload of students came from Bowie State University in Maryland, where Frazier, a freshman, was stabbed Sept. 15, following an altercation in her dormitory.

Hugs and tears were plentiful as mourners embraced, overcome with emotion as they remembered a dear friend. One of Frazier's relatives was so overwhelmed that she had to be taken outside the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Southeast. And her mother, Denise Frazier Wilson, was distraught and crying over the loss of her only child.

"Dominique was my everything, my wake-up call, my smile, my laughter, my strength," Wilson said in the obituary distributed at the funeral. "Most of all, she was my ROCK, and I love her and miss her very much."

"She did everything right," said Dacia McKnight, a neighbor who lives near Frazier's mother, off Benning Road in Northeast . "No one expects a tragedy like this."

"I was close to her father who passed away a little over a year ago," McKnight said of Joseph L. Wilson. "Dominique's mother is a strong woman. She's been through a great deal. No mother wants to bury their daughter."

Although the mood was somber, a tremendous amount of life filled the packed sanctuary. As the choir sung hymns, ushers directed people to the back of the church, which accommodates about 300 people. They set up chairs for the overflow, but some still had to stand. Many mourners wore black T-shirts reading "R.I.P. Dominique" and adorned with photos of Frazier, who would have turned 19 on Sunday.

A few days earlier, Maryland State Police charged one of Frazier's roommates, Alexis D. Simpson, 19, with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree assault. A preliminary hearing for Simpson has been set for Oct. 14 at District Court in Prince George's County.

"I remember seeing her everyday at lunch time in 12th grade," said Naomi Booker, 18, a former classmate of Frazier's at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington.

"I'm going to miss her laugh most," Booker said. "Dominique was the epitome of sweet."

Another Friendship graduate said that he didn't know Frazier well while they were in high school, but that he felt it was important to pay his respects.

Charmeise Anderson, 18, who has been friends with Frazier since middle school, spoke with her two weeks ago.

"I'll remember Dominique as energetic, motivated and loud," Anderson said. "Our last phone conversation was about college. She was telling me how she was so glad to be back at Bowie. She was best friends with my sister, and she told me she couldn't wait to see her."

Anderson and Booker said their friend's death could have been avoided, and expressed thoughts about how differences could be handled.

"I know that a lot of other students have roommate problems," Booker said. "There is something to be learned from this situation. I hope others choose take a different path when solving disagreements."

Anderson added that people shouldn't underestimate situations because they can escalate. "Take precaution. Don't handle the situation by yourself. Get an R.A., or get someone involved," Anderson said. "Don't ever take things lightly, because when you do, this is what [can] happen."