The walls of Greater Love Tabernacle in Dorchester could not contain the grief of a family mourning the loss of not one but two loved ones yesterday.
Their pain rolled down the concrete steps and onto the street below, where friends and family dressed in white held each other as they said goodbye to LaShon Washington and Joseph Winston, cousins felled by gun violence over the Fourth of July weekend.
The private service in the packed church lasted more than two hours, with groups of men occasionally emerging and holding up men and women overcome by grief and unable to stand.
The bereft collapsed into each other’s arms, onto the church stairs, and onto the leather seats of black limousines, where the guttural wails of a man in mourning filled the uneasy silence along Nightingale Street, which was crowded with mourners, members of the city’s street-worker program, and Boston police officers, both uniformed and plainclothes.
The hush around the church was punctuated by the drone of idling rescue trucks called at about 11 a.m. so that crews could help at least two people so overwhelmed by sorrow that they needed oxygen.
The voice of a pastor trying to soothe raw emotion competed with the sounds of sadness.
“Celebrate the life,” the Rev. William E. Dickerson, pastor of Greater Love Tabernacle, shouted in the sanctuary. “We will get through this!”
Washington, a 39-year-old father of four, was deeply protective of his little cousin, their obituary said. And so, it was only fitting that the two be interred together, nine days after they died together.
Both men were killed on Columbia Road just after midnight July 5 as Washington drove Winston home from a barbecue, family members said.
As the men sat in the car, police said, someone ran up and fired into it. The car lurched forward and crashed into a building.
Police believe the gunman was aiming for Winston, a 26-year-old Roxbury man who law enforcement officials say had ties to a Roxbury gang.
There have been no arrests in the case, but a police spokeswoman said yesterday that detectives are making progress.