‘Part of my heart is missing’: 9-year-old girl shot, killed at Richmond park

Updated: May. 27, 2019 at 11:25 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - One girl has died and a boy has been shot, after a double shooting at a cookout on Richmond’s south side.

Officers were called to Carter Jones Park, in between Perry and Bainbridge Streets, for a report of a shooting at approximately 7:23 p.m. Sunday.

Richmond police say two juveniles, a boy and a girl, were transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The girl succumbed to her injuries at the hospital. The boy is still suffering from his injuries.

Richmond police are asking for the public’s help to provide information, photos and videos from that night.

“This is a heartbreaking case where a young child’s life was taken and another child was injured due to gun violence,” said Major Crimes Lieutenant Faith Flippo. “We believe there were many people in the park last night and we’re asking anyone with information, photos or videos to provide it to detectives. Even the smallest bit of information could help us bring closure for both of these families.”

Family members identified the girl as 9-year-old Markiya Simone Dickson.

Markiya Simone Dickson.
Markiya Simone Dickson.

"That girl got a name. My baby got a name. Her name is Markiya Simone Dickson. " Mark Whitfield and Ciara Dickson said.

Markiya turned nine on March 2 and has an older sister and younger brother.

Her mother, Ciara Dickson, described Markiya as “fiesty” and very affectionate and caring.

“She was my own mini-me,” Ciara Dickson said.

Her parents said the gunfire that cut her life short came from some men on a nearby basketball court. Markiya tried to run away, her parents said, but was caught in the fire.

“We weren’t even nowhere near the basketball court,” her father, Mark Whitfield, said. “That just shows you bullets have no names on them. They just flying at people. So ignorant.”

Markiya had made it into a talent show and was excited to sing “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber, but now that will never happen.

“I ran through the bullets and everything to find my baby on the ground bleeding,” Whitfield said. “She always thought about everybody else. She wasn’t but nine. I always knew my baby was going to be something special. Now that’s gone."

“When we stepped outside and saw people running and screaming, I figured out it wasn’t fire works,” Luke Rabin said.

Rabin lives in the area and says he heard what sounded like up to 15 gun shots.

“It just felt like a disaster seeing so many kids running and screaming, and seeing so many parents running trying to find their kids,” Rabin said.

“It’s absolutely senseless and ridiculous,” Dwayne Hill said.

Hill is a community activist and says it’s time to get out in the community to make a change.

“Everyone is outraged or beyond outraged. This is a child who was here for a community day with friends and family that I’m sure had no clue it would be her last,” Hill said.

Organizers say the event was suppose to bring the community together.

“Especially in this community. Unity is nowhere. Whenever we get the opportunity to come together - the last thing we need is violence,” Hill said.

The shooting remains under investigation.

“She was my everything," Ciara Dickson said. “A part of my heart is missing. I leave out of the house with three kids, and I come back with two. This is not right. Don’t nobody understand this hurt.”

Police ask anyone with information, photos or videos to email Major Crimes Detective Benjamin Neifeld at Benjamin.Neifeld@richmondgov.com or call (804) 646-3246. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help Markiya’s family.

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