The stepfather of murdered schoolboy Marlon Stewart is urging the public to stop blaming parents when their children are victims of crime, saying in some cases parents have exhausted all options.
Stewart, 14, was gunned down outside his grandmother's home at Mon Repos Road, Morvant, on November 24.
During his tribute at Stewart's funeral at the St Francis Spiritual Baptist Church, Mon Repos, on Friday, his stepfather Joel Dopwell responded to critics, saying the family had done their best to protect him.
He said it was easy for people to be targeted by criminals in certain areas.
"Who want to say the parents didn't do this or do that: let me ask you one question – is there anyone here who made a mind for themselves?
"Who controls us? Who controls you?
"Marlon went to school, he did everything a child did. He was just harder to control.
"We need to stop judging each other, stop blaming each other and start looking out for each other.
"We had a child. We didn't make his mind. We tried to control him, and there are other parents who can say the same.
"You had a child, you tried your all to control him and he still slipped away," an impassioned Dopwell said, as mourners applauded.
He also called on parents to learn from Stewart's murder and love their children while taking the necessary steps to protect them from danger.
"Let this what happened to Marlon save other lives.
"Parents, keep your children off the road, we know what it is that's happening. Keep them off the road, try and keep them safe, and most of all, love them."
In his homily, Bishop Desmond Griffith agreed with Dopwell's remarks and lamented the spate of crime and violence.
He also blamed the upsurge in crime on sinful men, adding that Satan was often blamed for their crimes.
"You see the love man have for self, you see everything what's happening now? It's man that caused it.
"People will say it's Satan. Leave Satan out of that. This is man's destruction, because men, out of their heart, it's jealousy, it's wickedness coming out of the heart."
During the service, Stewart's mother, Crystal Dianna Stewart, had to be consoled by relatives.
Stewart's sister Christiana performed a dance tribute to the tune of Jaron Nurse's song Fed Up, which calls for an end to gun violence.
Stewart was buried at the Tunapuna Public Cemetery.