Vigil held for 9-year-old girl killed in shooting at Richmond park

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Hundreds of people gathered at a vigil in Richmond on Thursday to remember the life of Markiya Dickson, a 9-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet at Carter Jones Park over  Memorial Day weekend.

Nearly two weeks have passed since Dickson’s death and her parents say it’s hard to believe. Markiya’s father says when senseless acts like this strike the community, spreading love is the answer. 

“Love your loved ones, cherish everybody,” said Latarsha Richardson, a family friend of Markiya Dickson. “Whatever grudge you got against anybody, put that behind you.” 

Mark Whitfield lost his 9-year-old daughter Markiya Dickson to gun violence at Carter Jones Park. The killer is still on the loose. “If they had any heart they would have been turned themselves in by now,” Whitfield said, “but justice will serve itself in due time.” 

“She wasn’t even 10 years old yet,” Richardson told 8News, “she didn’t experience life, she didn’t even see her teen years.”

The tragedy hitting close to home for family friends and even strangers. 

“We’re going to carry on Markiya Simone Dickson from this day forward,” Richardson said, “we gonna always have her in our hearts.”

“We gotta change our city, I can’t change the world right now, but what I can do, is focus on my city,” Whitfield said, “it all starts at home first.”  ​​​​​​​

Dickson’s father says the mentality to keep quiet about violence has to change. 

“Snitching, we got to kill that word because people use that word ‘oh, snitching is stitching and that,” Whitfield said, “when it comes to a child, there’s no laws. Ain’t no snitching, ain’t no street code to that, it’s principles.” 

Whitfield told 8News his focus now is putting his baby girl to rest. Her funeral will take place on Friday at noon at the Arthur Ashe Center. 

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