WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — On Thursday night, family members of 16-year-old Taniya Jones are remembering her life. Taniya was shot and killed in Southeast on Sunday evening.
Her family held a candlelight vigil Thursday night at Oak Park.
“Just remembering her spirit. Like I said she was just overall a good thing, good relationships with people around her, it was good to have her energy,” said relative Leadrea Ellis. “I’ve never seen Taniya sad. She encouraged others all the time. Even when things went bad she always had something funny or positive to say.”
Taniya was killed inside an apartment on the 4400 block of 3rd Street. Metropolitan Police did not release much information regarding her death, but they did say that they found her unconscious and unresponsive when they arrived And the incident is being investigated as a homicide.
“I was in complete shock, it took me a minute to register but I just got there as fast as I could. It was really heartbreaking. Yeah it was real hard to deal with,” said Ellis.
Now, her family is left trying to pick up the pieces of their broken hearts.
“I’ve been rocky since, you know I have crying spurts. You know I’ll see a picture or have a thought and that reality hits. But just loving on each other and remembering the good stuff,” Ellis said.
“I value life more, and what I actually have that other people don’t,” said Ellis’s son, Taniya’s cousin.
Ellis works with youth in D.C. every day. She says situations like these remind her there’s much more work to do.
“Just bringing gun awareness. When possessing it, when to use it and how to use it really. I think just making it aware of how serious it is to have a gun, and what that’s for. Because guns are protection they’re not just to be played with and act like it’s a cool thing,” said Ellis.
Now they’re making sure Taniya’s legacy lives on.
“I just would say everybody keep up with the Tik Tok’s, and the love and the happiness that she used to bring and the love and stuff like that,” she said.
Nearly 100 people gathered at Oxon Run Park holding balloons and candles, many tearful as they took a moment to think about Taniya. The community also held a Stop The Gun Violence Rally in response to her death just before the vigil.