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Family of slain teen meets with Rev. Jackson

May 29, 2008 3:04:43 PM PDT
The killer of Sharkelia Taylor is still on the loose.

The teenager, who was the innocent victim of a drive-by shooting, was remembered by family and friends Thursday. They say the outpouring of support from the community has given them hope.

Sharkelia Taylor was shot and killed earlier this week while visiting her grandmother on the city's South Side.

A very emotional prayer vigil this morning led by Reverand Jesse Jackson. Hundreds came out to support the family, including a friend who was with Sharkelia at the time of the shooting.

"I thank God that she's not just another black female just deceased and nobody cared...I'm glad to see somebody do care besides me and it makes me feel a whole lot better," said Latrina Carter.

Sharkelia's mother says she feels blessed by the overwhelming support given to her family. A memorial continues to grow at the intersection where the 15-year-old was gunned down on Memorial Day by a drive-by shooter. Friends and relatives continue to pay respects by writing messages and leaving gifts.

Thursday morning, Reverend Jesse Jackson held a prayer vigil to help comfort the family.

"There are too many funerals and not enough future, too many memorials and not enough ending the madness," said Jackson.

Ron Holt is among those supporting the family. His son Blair was shot to death on a CTA bus last year. Thursday, he spent time with Sharkelia's mother.

"She said 'that was my only daughter, and I said, I know how you feel,' I said, 'Blair was my only son,' " said Holt.

Thirteen-year-old Crystal Dillard was walking with Sharkelia when someone started shooting at them. She says Sharkelia may have saved her life.

"We were just running and when she got shot, I was screaming," said Crystal Dillard, friend of victim.

For that, her mother says her daughter is not only an innocent victim, but a hero.

"She was around everybody all the time. She was a bright girl. Make everybody laugh," said Latrina Carter.

Jackson called on the community to help police find those responsible.

"This means that there are killers in our midst, there are terrorists who find sanctuary in our communities. Somebody must expose the terrorists and stop the madness," said Jackson.

Taylor grew up on the Southeast Side, but she had recently moved to Gary, Indiana. Police have not released much information about the investigation. They are only working off a vague description of the shooter's vehicle, a black Chevy Monte Carlo.

It's been almost three days since the shooting. So far police have not made any arrests.


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