RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - For many, Memorial Day weekend is a holiday - but perhaps no longer for the family of Marikya Dickson.
It’s almost a year to the day when the 9-year-old was playing in Carter Jones Park, before getting struck by gunfire.
“I ran there through the bullets and everything, and find my baby laying in the ground, bleeding,” said father Mark Whitfield last May.
But since they lost their baby girl, Mark Whitfield and Ciara Dickson made it their mission to curb violence in the city, all while the mystery remained as to who pulled the trigger that night.
Then finally, a break in the case six months after the shooting: two men arrested in connection. Quinshawn Betts and Jermaine Davis were eventually charged with firearms and murder charges.
Police say the men opened fire after a fight at the basketball court in the park.
But still, a third man remained on the loose, as Markiya’s parents pushed on - attending community discussions and rallies for similarly-afflicted families.
“That day showed me it doesn’t matter where you go, what you’re doing, you’re not safe anywhere. But how can we change that?" he said during a gun violence forum hosted by Senator Tim Kaine and other community leaders.
And a month later after the initial arrests, Jesus Turner --the third suspect-- was brought to justice. He was charged with multiple counts, including murder.
For some, Carter Jones Park is just that: a park. But for others, it will always be so much more.
“My baby ain’t deserve that, she was only 9 years old. I will never get to see her grow up, never get to see her graduate," Whitfield said at an earlier interview.
Mark Whitefield did say that they plan to hold a car ride on May 26th, the actual anniversary of Markiya’s death, in her memory.
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