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'She was a beautiful soul:' Prayer vigil held for St. Augustine's student

Posted March 30

A prayer vigil was held Thursday night in remembrance of the St. Augustine's University freshman who died during her spring break in Washington, D.C.

Family, friends and loved ones used the occasion to celebrate how Ayana McAllister lived.

Like a candle, friends and family said Ayana McAllister was a light on campus of St. Augustine's University.

"She was just a beautiful soul, my baby girl. Last Tuesday our hearts were torn apart," her father Anthony McAllister said.

On the night of March 21, Ayana died from a stray bullet while out with friends in Washington, D.C. She was home on spring break.

At the prayer vigil, her friends described her as poised and fashionable, talented, with a bright future. She was part of the modeling club on campus.

Her mother was pleased to hear her daughter was so loved.

"She was beautiful inside and out," Tyreese McAllister said. "It means a lot that my husband's alma mater supports us as a family as we mourn the loss of our daughter."

As family and friends gathered around the flag pole on the quad in the center of campus, they prayed for an end to the violence that took Ayana's life.

"We have trust and faith in God that he will see us through. People have often asked us how we handle this situation, and it's not of us, it's of God," Anthony McAllister said.

Ayana's sister is also a student at St. Augustine's University.

St. Augustine's President Dr. Everett Ward announced Thursday that a scholarship will be established in Ayana's name. It will be awarded to a student studying criminal justice, which was her course of study.

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