RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - 9-year-old Markiya Dickson was killed Memorial Day weekend, but her life was finally honored with a vigil at Carter Jones Park Thursday evening.
Her family is seeking justice and reminding the community that stopping the cycle of violence in the city starts at home.
“My middle one is gone, my monkey in the middle gone,” said Markiya’s father, Mark Whitfield. "My main focus right now is putting my baby girl to rest.”
Balloons and flowers brought by family, police and total strangers piled up as the community gathered to honor the life Markiya Dickson. Dickson was the unintended target of a stray bullet during a cookout.
For Markiya’s uncle, Frank Pitchford, it was a touching ceremony.
“It was awesome and it goes to show how this family was loved because of the people out here,” Pitchford said.
However, the saddened family member wishes his niece was still alive.
“It didn’t have to happen,” said Pitchford. “These people didn’t deserve this. These people are my family members, it’s crazy.”
Though thoughts, prayers or tears won’t bring back this smiling 9-year-old, Whitfield said he hopes that action might curb the violence in the city.
At one point, the dozens gathered joined hands to form a community shield, driving home the message that they need to work together protect themselves and curb the cycle of violence in the city.
“It starts at home. It always starts at home,” said Whitfield. “If you’re raised the the right way, you’re going to act the right way.”
Whitfield said he wants people to speak out against violence and own up to their crimes.
“If you’re a grown man out here doing something wrong you have to deal with your own consequences however it comes to you," said Whitfield.
Police are still continuing to search for those responsible for this 9-year-old’s death.
If you know anything,call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.
Gov. Ralph Northam will be at Markiya Dickson’s memorial on Friday, June 7.
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