Family lays victim of deadly Denny's fight to rest

CROSBY, Texas (KTRK) -- This goodbye came all too soon. In a small church in northeast Harris County, friends and family gathered to say goodbye to John Hernandez.

Hernandez was just 24, a father, husband, and a loving friend.

"He was always singing, even if he didn't know how to sing very well," remembered Miriam Zaragoza, a childhood friend. "He was always singing, making people smile."

Many family and friends wore T-shirts bearing Hernandez's photo. The hashtag #JusticeForJohn was written on shirts and car windows.

The message was clear: this is a community united in seeking justice for this young man.

There were moments where they tried hard to not remember how he died. Instead, they tried to focus on his life that was filled with laughter and soccer games. Hernandez was a goalie on a team run by his uncle.

"We both played soccer together," said Daniel Lopez, his voice cracking with emotion. "The day we found out that Johnny was basically gone, it just hurt, it hurt."

"I don't think it's even real, it's really hard," added Zaragoza, who like many at the funeral brought their children to remember the moment.

For many, the cell phone video seen around the world of Hernandez fighting to breathe is hard to comprehend. The mug shots of Terry and Chauna Thompson, the couple charged with his murder, haunt their dreams.

"We're a strong family, we stick together, we'll continue to fight," said Ramona Martinez, an aunt. "We thank everybody, family and friends for all the support."

Indeed, Saturday's goodbye will only be one step in a long journey for the Hernandez family. They have vowed to follow the court proceedings every step of the way to make sure justice is served.

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