Police ask for public’s help in girl’s fatal shooting

May 28, 2019 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Police are asking for the public’s help as they search for suspects in the weekend shooting death of a 9-year-old girl in a Richmond park.

The girl and an 11-year-old boy were shot at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Carter Jones Park during a community cookout.

During a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Levar Stoney identified the girl as Markiya Dickson and called her death “senseless and tragic.”

“Every family should expect when they visit a public park that their family will go back intact. Unfortunately, that did not happen this past weekend,” Stoney said.


Interim Police Chief William Smith said police believe the incident began on or close to a nearby basketball court and skate park. He urged anyone who witnessed an argument or other activity in the area that may have led to shots being fired to call police.

“Please know that like all of our homicides, we are doing everything that we can to bring those who performed this act of violence to justice,” Smith said.

Police said the park was crowded at the time of the shooting. They did not release the identity or condition of the boy who was hurt.

Markiya’s parents, Ciara Dickson and Mark Whitfield, told WRIC-TV the family was at the community cookout when gunfire came from men on the basketball court. They said Markiya was struck as she tried to run away.

“She was my bundle of joy. I can’t get her back ... my life is shattered,” Ciara Dickson said.

The neighborhood where the park is located is also home to the Southside Club, one of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond.

Sean Miller, the organization’s chief operating officer, said the shooting is an anomaly for the area.

“I don’t remember the last time something like this happened in that area,” he said. “There was a community event taking place.”

Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said Markiya formerly attended Richmond public schools, while the boy who was hurt is a current student in Richmond. Kamras said grief counselors will be available to help other students.