Sumter community honors three children shot and killed last week with white bows

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 9:46 PM EDT

SUMTER, S.C. (WIS) - The neighborhood in Sumter where three young children were shot and killed last week is covered with white bows to honor the lives lost.

Last Tuesday, Aletha Holliday’s three children, 5-year-old Aayden, 6-year-old Aason, and 11-year-old Ava, were slain by Holliday’s ex-husband at their home in the Woodridge subdivision.

Eddie Jackson, who lives in the subdivision and is a former Homeowners Association board president, said the tribute started small, with a few bows on trees outside homes.

It quickly caught on, he said, spreading to every home and yard, both on trees and on mailboxes.

“You may or may not get a chance to pass on your respects and your condolences,” Jackson said. “So the idea that we could do an outward support that she could see every day that she comes in and out of our neighborhood was really how it all came about to say, ‘We want her to know that we support her through this.’”

Perhaps the most noticeable sign of the neighborhood’s show of support is the entrance sign to Woodridge, which is now adorned with newly-planted white flowers.

The color white is bringing this tight-knit community together to remember the Holliday children.

The color was chosen as a sign of their innocence, according to Jackson.

“When you lose children, not only does it take a part of your soul with you, but you lose someone who could potentially have an impact on leadership or touching other people in the near future,” he said.

Jackson said these three young children have already touched so many lives.

“One of the parents, I believe it was, said that their child had spoken of how friendly the youngest child was, and how he always had a smile on his face,” he said. “If you ever had a bad day, all you had to do was look at him and you’d see his smile, and you would be better.”

Jackson said Holliday had expressed to a friend how much the flowers and bows mean to her, and she wants it to be expanded.

The community plans to do that, with Jackson pleading with the city of Sumter, and the entire county, to take part in the effort.

“We would just love to see everybody take part in this so that the Holliday family knows that not just the neighborhood of Woodridge, but the entire community of Sumter supports her and we honor her children,” he said.

Jackson also asked the entire community to keep the Holliday family in their prayers.

A celebration of life for Aayden, Aason, and Ava will be held on Friday at 1 P.M. at Christ Community Church in Sumter.

RELATED STORY: Funeral arrangements set for three children shot and killed in Sumter

The homecoming celebration for Command Sergeant Major Carlos Evans, who was also gunned down last Tuesday, will take place in Petersburg, Virginia. Final arrangements are still being made.

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