Grandfather of slain toddler: She was an angel
Posted January 1
Updated January 2
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Friday night, a small apartment community in Chapel Hill was mourning the death of a toddler killed a week ago in a drive-by shooting with a candlelight vigil that called for an end to the violence that took her life.
Maleah Williams, 1, was shot in the head outside her family's apartment in the 700 block of Trinity Court on Christmas Day, and she died Monday at UNC Hospitals.
Maleah’s grandmother, Clarissa Farrington, said she was moved by all of the people who lit candles in memory of the little girl whose light still shines brightly in her grandmother’s heart.
"Being down here feels good to see the support that we have down here," she said.
Earlier in the day, Farrington lashed out at local churches, saying they have provided little support for the family.
"I'm trying to hear an apology and to get an understanding why none of these churches reached out, came by to say, 'How you doing?'" she said. "I didn't get a phone call. I didn't see no one at the hospital. So, I don't really feel like the community was there."
The NAACP and religious groups held a memorial service for Maleah on Friday afternoon at St. Joseph's CME Church in Chapel Hill.
At the beginning of the memorial service, Michelle Laws, executive director of the state branch of the NAACP, provided the apology Farrington sought.
"I'm sorry that our community did not stand quickly enough and fast enough. We can't change the past because, if we could, Maleah would be here," Laws said.
North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber demanded an end to violence and more action from the black community.
"We must stop these funerals," Barber said. "Why the hell are we killing ourselves? We must have a revival, a revival of our self-worth."
At Friday night’s vigil, which was held by the NAACP, the small apartment community was seeking a pathway to calm and compassion for each other.
“All children belong to this community and belong to each of us, and so it is a start. It’s a start to wrap our arms around this family and let them know, as a community, we do care,” said Laws.
Both events were comforting to Maleah’s family, but her grandfather still finds hope in her death.
“God created a child, and she was an angel, and to me, he took her for a purpose,” said Albert Williams.
Ramone Jamarr Alston, 22, and Pierre Je Bron Moore, 23, are charged with first-degree murder in Maleah's death, while Shaquille Oneill Davis, 22, is charged with attempted first-degree murder.
Police said shots were fired from a vehicle as it was leaving the apartment complex, and one of the bullets struck the toddler. Witnesses said the shooting might have been retaliation for an argument that occurred earlier on Christmas Day and that Maleah was an innocent victim.