The grieving mother of a 19-year-old woman killed in a North Philadelphia quadruple shooting said her daughter was trying to avoid the violence plaguing the city before she was gunned down.
“She was my only daughter. She talked to me about everything. She talked to me about the violence that goes on down here in Philadelphia. She was one of the ones that didn’t want to be involved in the drama. She wanted more. She wanted to get out of here. She didn’t want to be here,” Ayanna Grave said through tears.
Her daughter, Yaniyah Foster, died when gunfire broke out as she sat on a stoop near St. Malachy Catholic School, on 11th and Thompson Streets, Wednesday afternoon. Three men were also struck, but they are expected to be OK.
Grave said Foster was waiting for her so that she could drive her to pick up her check at work. Foster was eager to use her hard-earned money to get her hair done.
Instead, police said two gunmen walked up and began firing in what they believed to be a targeted shooting. On Friday, 16-year-old Joel Saint-Ford and 25-year-old Charles Davis were charged with murder in connection to the shootout.
“They took my baby from me,” Grave said.
Grave decried the gun violence in the city that led to her daughter’s death.
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“Before all of this, it was like we was fighting in a war, trying to live here, trying to get away and live like normal people. When you’re living in the projects, it’s like the zoo. You don’t know who to trust, who you’re around. Nobody should have to live like that,” Grave said.
In the wake of the shooting, Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke, along with 4th District Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. and 7th District Councilmember Maria Quiñones Sánchez, introduced a resolution to install at least 85 surveillance cameras near schools across the city to help police combat gun crime and protect students in high-crime areas.
As she shed tears for her daughter, Grave said parents should also provide a better check on their children and be held accountable for their violent actions.
“I keep waking up in a nightmare over and over again,” Grave said.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence. Further information can be found here.