When Mack W. Cantrell's coffin was opened yesterday in the Bible Way Church on New Jersey Avenue NW women in black veils let out sorrowed wails and their arms flew into all reaching toward the coffin.
An usher handed out tissue paper and watched over Cantrell's relative as mourners passed by his coffin, and a church sister sang "Amazing Grace." As one man approached the coffin he did a quick step, fell to one knee and made the sign of the cross then stood and reached in the coffin to touch Cantrell's hand.
Cantrell's body was dressed in the blue uniform of the D.C. Department of General Services Building Security. He was shot while wearing the uniform on March 9 during the Hana take-over of the District Building where he had been a security guard.
Cantrell died July 4 of a heart attack, according to the D.C. Medical Examiner, after recovering from the gunshot wound to his head that he received during the early hours of the Hanafi take-over.
"I don't know what the coroner the medical examiner would say," said Bishop Smallwood E. Williams of Bible Way, "but I believe that most of us believe that the cause of the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] timely passing of our brother was a result of the outrageous, brutal act and violence which shocked this city March 9."
City dignitaries, including Mayor Walter E. Washington, 10 of the City Council members and D.C. Congressional Del. Walter E. Fauntroy [WORD ILLEGIBLE] at the pulpit.
"Cantrell was a good man, a quick and deliberate man," said Mayor Walter Washington.
"I'm here . . . to say farewell to colleague, brother and a friend," said City Council Chairman Sterlin Tucker, who was the first of the speakers to link Cantrell's death the Hanafi seige.
"Though his passing aame late Tucker told the audience of 150 persons, "he was truly a victim of the seige. He died a hero."
Cantrell, 46, a former marine, was native of Knoxville, Tenn., was a graduate of Armstrong High School Washington. He joined the D.C. Department of General Services building security force in 1971.
He served in District government buildings at 122 C street NW, 613 Street NW. 801 North Capitol St. and the District Building.
"It was during this assignment his family wrote in their eulogy, "that it always - deliberately and forthrightly putting his duties first and himself last - on Monday 9 attempting to protect the Mayor and the City Council on the fifth floor was serious * wounded . . . by the Hanafis, who had come to do harm to the people Mayor loved so much."
Laura Wilson, Cantrell's aunt, said yesterday that although relative asked him not to go back to his job a security job after he was shot. Cantrell said he wanted to go back. On June 19 he returned to work.