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Family of 14-year-old girl who died in mass shooting in N. Charleston calling for justice

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 9:37 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The family of a 14-year-old girl who died in a mass shooting over the weekend in North Charleston is speaking out about their call for justice in her killing.

Ronjanae Smith’s father, Ronald, said in a letter that he is defeated knowing he will never get a text or call from his daughter again.

In a letter released on Monday, he and Ronjanae’s mother said they want to focus on finding the perpetrators who killed their daughter and wounded 14 others Saturday night.

They also say they do not want any retaliation, but rather peace within their community.

“If you want to honor Ronjanae honor her with prayer, honor her with togetherness. Honor her with becoming more educated,” the family said. “Honor her by not being hateful and most importantly honor her by being a positive community that can stop violence by all means necessary.”

In the letter, which can be read below, the girl’s father also praised the North Charleston Police Department and asked for privacy at this time.

The mass shooting also comes during an uptick in violent crimes in North Charleston. It’s something local leaders say has become all too common.

“We didn’t proactively address gun violence in the past, so now, the fruits of our lack of labor is the death of this young child and this explosion of gunfire we see not only here but nationally,” said Thomas Dixon, a pastor and activist against gun violence.

State lawmakers say they want to work with people both on the community level and all the way to the state house to make sure a mass shooting like this doesn’t happen again.

“My God, we hadn’t even got out for the summer in these schools and colleges for the most part. The signs are on the wall but the question is what are we going to do about it?” said State Representative Wendell Gilliard.

“All of us have to do the difficult work of trying to curb gun violence. But look, it’s not just legislation that we can pass. There’s so much that we can do as communities,” said State Representative J.A. Moore.

For now, the Ronjanae’s family is asking for people to honor her by being positive and peaceful.

You can read Ronald Smith’s full statement below.

As everyone knows by now I’m the father of the beautiful Ronjanae Smith that senselessly and tragically lost her life to gun violence on this past Saturday. The hurt I have for the lost of Ronjanae can only be described as defeat. The fact that I will no longer be able to get a simple (I love you daddy text or be able to FaceTime with her or simply hit the like button on a post she makes is disheartening. Mass shootings aren’t secluded to “poverty-stricken areas”. Violence and/or Ignorance doesn’t reside in one area nor does it reside with a particular race. We lost 9 praying people in a place of the lord by Dylan Roof. 12 people were killed at a movie theater in Colorado by James Holmes. 2 people lost their lives yesterday at a New Jersey house party. Someone was killed at Vibez nightclub with security and Several Law enforcement officers outside so it’s not the club owners fault, its the individuals who have intent to hurt people at all cost with no regard for human life or the Law. Ronjanae’s mother Katrina Sinclair and myself would like to keep the focus on finding the perpetrators responsible for not only murdering our daughter but hurting the other children that will now have to deal with constant trauma of the site of murder and loud gun shots. Let’s not deflect away from the real issue by giving attention to a drunk fest or an unauthorized party. We must come together as a community and stop this violence. We’d like to thank the police department for working tirelessly in this on going investigation. We’d like to thank all of our friends for the support as well as the community for the great outpouring of well wishes and prayers. Katrina and I aren’t seeking revenge, were seeking accountability. We ask that no one act out of retaliation as we have put this senseless act in God’s hand. If you want to honor Ronjanae honor her with prayer, honor her with togetherness. Honor her with becoming more educated. Honor her by not being hateful and most importantly honor her by being a positive community that can stop violence by all means necessary. Please respect our privacy as we grieve. Ronjanae, we all miss you and love you baby girl.

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