Gladys Wright was lying in her bed on Sunday morning and could not fall asleep because she was waiting for her great-granddaughter, Quanisha, 16, to come home. Instead she got a phone call from Quanisha’s friend who told her that she had been shot at a birthday party in an apartment on Weeks Avenue, four blocks away from her apartment.
“I’m always praying. When you’re out there on the street, you never know if you’re gonna make it back home,” Wright, 86, said on Monday as she ate deli sandwiches for lunch with Quanisha’s brothers, Hassan, 13 and Trayquan, 14. Next to her sat Quanisha’s empty chair as a subtle painful sign of her loss.
Quanisha who had just celebrated her 16th birthday on Friday joined her friend Marvin Wiggins, 15, Saturday evening to celebrate his godson’s first birthday. They stayed after the party ended around 9 p.m. to help clean up then started an after-party with their friends.
“They wanted to have a little time” for themselves, said Eva Reed, the baby’s grandmother, who lives in the building where the party took place.
Around 1:15 a.m., said people who were present, two drunken men arrived at the party and opened fire. They were allegedly upset about a disagreement that took place earlier in the evening and were seeking revenge. Wiggins was shot when he threw himself between the shooters and Doreen Eleazer, Reed’s neighbor.
As panicked party-goers fled the scene, Reed said, Quanisha was shot in the stomach and ran toward the backdoor where she crouched down next to her friend Shonta Crosby. Both men ran out.
According to police,two men, Dexter “Lil Dex” Green, 20, and Robert “Jacob” Mitchell, 24, were arrested Monday and charged with murder in the shootings.
“They took something precious from me. She was my treasure,” Wright, who was Quanisha’s guardian, said of the shooters. “I want them to be punished.”
Monday morning, Hassan Wright, was sitting on his sister’s bed, reading the news of her death in the paper. He was at his aunt’s house when his sister was shot. He described her as “unique, smart and beautiful,” and said that he misses her.
Quanisha loved dancing and planned on improving her step-dancing skills with friends over next summer. “She was always there for everybody,” said Wright’s friend, Delores Shazeia Pinkston, 16.
Pinkston also knew Marvin Wiggins. She left a potato chip bag for him by the candle memorial set up at his building’s entrance. Friends and family hung a white T-shirt in the building’s entrance, on which they wrote condolences. Marvin and Quanisha went to the same school from sixth to eight grade, said Marvin’s mother, Andrea Wiggins.
On Monday afternoon, Wiggins’ apartment was filled with family and friends in mourning. They watched the news on television hoping they could learn more about the crime.
“Marvin was a loving child. He didn’t want anybody being hurt and now he’s gone,” she said before shouting and wailing in anguish.
When Andrea called the police, to ask about the suspects, she was pleased to hear that an arrest was made. The memory of her son dying in her husband’s arms makes her very angry at the neighborhood’s rampant crime.
“All I want is to stop violence and get guns off the streets,” she said.