NORFOLK, Va. – Wednesday evening, loved ones and community members are gathering to mourn the loss of a teenage girl who was gunned down at a Norfolk playground.
Tuesday afternoon, police arrested someone for the shooting.
According to police, a call came in regarding a shooting in the 900 block of Pollard Street in the Lindenwood community around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday.
Derek Kirksey said his 15-year-old cousin, Deajha Williams Smith, was shot and killed by her friend at the Pollard Street Playground in Norfolk.
Wednesday, signs and balloons were hung around the park. Community activists and relatives are organizing a memorial that starts at 5 p.m.
“I didn’t know that it was my cousin laying there dead when I pulled up, and there were kids running from the park,” said Kirksey.
While Kirksey and other family members say she was 15 years old, police say she is 17.
He said the 15-year-old loved to dance and the color purple; cared for her sisters and just started her freshman year of high school.
Relatives say the person accused of killing her was her close friend.
They did not know if there was a problem between the two teens or what led to the violence.
“You’ve got two lives that are gone - one to the system, one to the grave,” said Kirksey.
He said he has prayed for both teens' families. He said through the strength of God, he forgives the shooter.
But said he is angry at the adults who supply kids with guns and those who are a bad influence.
“When I grew up, nobody was going to the store to buy me a drink, no cigarettes. Nobody was smoking weed with me. This is the truth. We got to go back to the old school - tough love. It has got to stop,” said Kirksey.
Many are sick of the violence, including two community activists who are helping to organize the memorial tonight.
Community Activist Hakim Muhammad said he started the group ACTION.
“It’s so sad. I’ve been up all night, and I haven’t gone to sleep and I still can’t sleep,” said Muhammad.
He said he went to the park early this morning to clean up any remnants left over from the crime scene. He said he didn’t want other kids to see any blood.
“It’s crazy out here. We have to come together and help one another, be there for each other. This is the last place you think somebody would lose their life - on a playground at a park,” said another community activist, Clayton Marquez.
They said they want to name the park after Deajha.
“We're burying more young folk than we are older people these days," Marquez told us after the shooting Tuesday night.
Neighbors tell News 3 that while this is a quiet area, they do sometimes hear what sounds like gunshots or fireworks at night.
Wednesday, NPD announced that detectives have charged a 16-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy in connection with Smith's death. The 16-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and the use of a firearm during a felony. The 13-year-old has been charged with possession of a firearm by a juvenile and concealing evidence.
Both teens are currently being held at the Norfolk Detention Center.
“How many more lives have to be lost or ruined before we say enough is enough?" said Norfolk Police Chief Larry D. Boone. “Babies, children, and teenagers are getting shot in our backyard and across Hampton Roads. This incident alone cost one girl her life, ruined two others, and they’re all under the age of 18. I have been saying it for years, ‘where’s the adult leadership, where’s the responsible gun ownership, where’s the programs to reduce gun violence, where is the mere opportunity of hope?’ Together we can save lives, together we can inspire positive change in our communities, and together we can change this narrative, but it will require a monumental effort from all of us. We need to get this right, and right now.”
Police are continuing to ask anyone who has any information about this homicide to submit a tip online here or call 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-562-5887).