'This does not make sense’: Family, city leader hold candlelight vigil for teen struck, killed

Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 11:38 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Thursday night, dozens gathered at the sidewalks near the corner of Jahnke and German School roads to remember the life of Aajah Rosemond, who was killed after a car spun into her Sunday while she was walking home from the store.

The area where the 16-year-old took her last breath was illuminated with candles as part of the memorial organized by United Communities Against Crime, as family, friends, and city councilman Mike Jones paid their respects to the teen, all while demanding safer roads in the city’s 9th District.

“God, be with us all because this does not make sense," said Jones. “Our streets in the 9th district are not safe, Aajah should not have lost her life and that is the simple truth.”

“There’s just a piece missing, my mornings are hard, I just want to sleep,” said Aajah’s mother, Khrystal Bethea. “I’m definitely mourning the loss of my child.”

“We need safe streets for our Black children to walk on; the 9th District cannot be one of the unsafest places for our children to just simply walk to and from the store,” Jones added.

According to Richmond police, around 5:30 p.m., two cars collided and one of them spun out and hit Aajah who was walking along the road. As authorities continue to investigate the accident, this crowd is calling for drivers to pay more attention - especially to such a busy road."

“I will ask everybody that’s here in her memory try to do better... try to treat everybody better,” said one speaker.

“Let’s honor Aajah by not texting and driving...we’re going to call that the ‘Aajah Alert,’ not the ‘Amber Alert,’ but the ‘Aajah Alert.’ Let’s stop texting and driving,” said a relative of Aajah.

One at a time, family and friends took turns offering special memories they had with Aajah. The 16-year-old’s mother had the final word as she told the crowd how much Aajah loved beauty and doing makeup for those she cared about.

“I was on her nerves every morning. Every morning she put my lashes on, she swooped my edges - there was nothing I wouldn’t harass this girl for,” reflected Bethea.

Bethea says she is trying to keep it together for the sake of her five other children, and that she’s clinging to her faith for closure during these difficult times.

“I know better than to question God. I’m just going to mourn and get through it the best I can,” said Bethea. “She definitely was the morning Folgers in my cup. You’ve got to know it.”

The vigil concluded with a purple and white balloon release in Aajah’s memory.

A celebration of life will take place Friday at the United Nation’s Church in Richmond at 2 p.m. There will be limited seating and guests will be required to social distance in addition to wearing a mask.

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