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Resolution to create permanent memorial for Deshayla Harris fails at Virginia Beach meeting

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Posted at 10:33 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 23:24:19-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Elisheba Harris was emotional after a 2-9 vote at Tuesday’s Virginia Beach City Council meeting to not create a permanent memorial for her daughter, Deshayla Harris.

“It’s very hard. Every day is a fight,” Harris told News 3. “For them to just say they couldn’t do something small for her, I just couldn’t understand.”

The vote by city council members come as the one-year anniversary of the March 26th Oceanfront shooting where Deshayla was killed approaches.

“I won’t get a phone call saying my baby is coming home, or she’s walking through the door,” Elisheba said. “I won’t get that. I won’t know if I have grandchildren. It just takes everything from me.”

“They’re going to raise the money,” Gary McCollum, a minster providing support to the Harris family, said. “There is going to be a memorial.”

Since Deshayla's death, her mother has created a makeshift memorial near 19th Street and Atlantic Avenue.

The resolution to create a plaque for Deshayla was at the forefront of Tuesday's city council meeting, with residents and city leaders split on the issue.

“As we consider this resolution, we think about the impact it will have on our community,” Virginia Beach City Councilmember Sabrina Wooten said.

“It’s tough for me to say that perhaps this is not the most practical idea for us to do at this time,” Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said. “As a city, when we make a decision like this, we set a precedent. Is there a better way?”

Mayor Dyer added that a youth violence task force in Hampton Roads will be named after Deshayla.

As for her Elisheba, she hopes answers come soon.

“Someone knows something, and it’s just ridiculous that no one is saying anything,” she said. “We're all working together. I need anyone. Anyone in the community. Anyone that knows anything to speak up. Come forward. Just help us out. We're not working against the Virginia Beach Police Department, we're working with them now because that's the only way that something's going to happen."

Meanwhile, she won't stop fighting for a permanent memorial for her daughter.

“I’m going to do what I’m going to do to keep her alive,” Elisheba Harris said. “If it takes all the breath out of my body, I’m going to do what I have to do.”

Recently, News 3 Investigates uncovered new information related to Deshayla’s shooting.

Harris’s family said a memorial event will be held in Virginia Beach on March 26, the anniversary of the Oceanfront shooting.

Family members and friends have also set up a GoFundMe to raise money for a permanent memorial for Deshayla Harris. For more information, click here.

Click here for more News 3 Investigations.