Slain 9-year-old remembered during candlelight prayer vigil

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 11:38 PM EST
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - There was a massive show of support for a beloved 9-year-old boy who was senselessly killed in a quadruple shooting last Friday.

Abdul Bani-Ahmed was one of two young boys shot and killed when gunfire erupted outside an east-end convenience store on Nine Mile Road.

The PTA of Short Pump Elementary, where Abdul attended school, organized a candlelight prayer vigil in his honor. At 5 p.m., more than 100 parents, teachers, students, and family members gathered outside the elementary school with sunflowers, blue balloons, and candles in hand.

The marquee outside of the school was lit up to read “Forever Our Stinger Abdul.”

It was an intimate vigil that lasted about 30 minutes, but it was long enough for those who gathered to release days’ worth of pent-up grief finally.

“This world is so cruel. You can kill, but you can’t bring someone back to life,” said a woman close to Abdul’s family.

To those closest to Abdul, the pain from his death in last Friday’s convenience store shooting is still very raw.

“This is so disastrous to us and everybody because he was just a 9-year-old, an innocent boy,” said Abdul’s older cousin, Omar Mahases.

Mahases says Abdul had dreams of becoming a lawyer or a judge and was wise beyond his years. Mahases said Abdul had to be more responsible and mature because he had to be there for his older brother, who has autism.

“Because of his autistic brother, seeing the disorganization that’s going on with his brother, he tried to organize and bring it all together; bringing the right things to his brother,” said Mahases.

Now, Abdul’s family is clinging to the memories they’ll cherish most.

“He grew up with me most of the time, and every time I tried to go to sleep, I always remember him asking me for ice cream because he used to love ice cream so much,” Mahases said. “Every day I remember his voice, and I just start crying.”

“We used to play together, and he used to come over to our house and have sleepovers,” said Abduls cousin, Jana Bani-Ahmed.

Now, Abdul’s family is pleading for the police and the community to address the access young people have to firearms and the violence in the streets that also took the life of 14-year-old Rahquan Logan.

“We need to get them off the streets,” said Mahases. “17 and 18-year-olds are not supposed to have guns like that.”

Abdul was many things to this community - a son, a cousin, a student, but he was and is loved most of all.

“He is loved by a lot of people because he is a very, very special person,” said Jana.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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