The city joined Shadia Sands this week in mourning D’aja Robinson, her 14-year-old daughter who was killed by gunfire on Saturday.
“She was my only child — my heart, my everything,” Sands said Tuesday at a press conference near the Sutphin Ave. bus stop where she was killed when a gunman fired at least nine shots into a Q6 bus.
“I don’t know where to go from here,” she said. “I don’t know why somebody would do this to her.”
There is a $22,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) held a press conference with numerous religious and community leaders in front of the makeshift memorial at the intersection of Sutphin and Rockaway boulevards in Jamaica where Robinson was killed.
The politicians stated that gun control laws need to be strengthened and asked for the public’s assistance in finding the perpetrator of the crime.
“When anyone’s daughter is lost, all of our daughters are lost,” Quinn said. “Whenany child’s life is taken, all of our children’s lives are taken in some way.” Robinson’s family deserves to find out who is responsible for the crime, and she also stated that the city is committed to ending gun violence on the streets.
Robinson was shot in the head shortly before 9 p.m. after boarding a Q6 bus on Sutphin Boulevard near Baisley Pond Park. The high school freshman had just left a 16th birthday celebration with her friends at Onyx Lounge on Rockaway Boulevard, a few blocks away from the shooting, and was headed to another party.
Police and EMS responded to the scene and Robinson was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Nine shell casings were found, along with bullet holes on the bus.
No arrests have yet been made, but NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks III, speaking Monday night at a meeting of the 113th Precinct’s Community Council, said the case is a top priority within the department.
“I’ve been to numerous crime scenes like this, and if you’ve been to one, 10, 30 or 40 you never get used to it,” Banks said. “You have a 14-year-old girl with her whole life ahead of her and it was taken away for no reason.”
Friends of the gifted singer and dancer immediately took to social media to express their grief. Multiple memorial pages on Facebook that were created for Robinson, who was called Asia by her friends, have attracted thousands of followers.
“Good Morning, Asia. Everyone remember to wear purple, blue, or pink today in memory of Asia. Good luck to the people that attended school with Asia. She’s gone but never forgotten,” the page’s status reads.
Local rapper and author QueenzFlip created a fund for Robinson’s family after finding out about the shooting through Facebook messages from her family.
“Once I got the message, I put up a post on Instagram, sending my condolences,” he said. “I found out she was a fan of mine. I wanted to bring light to the situation.”
He added that his mother, Marie Deluse, who is involved with the nonpartisan grassroots movement Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, plans on attending Robinson’s funeral to help honor her and bring attention to the organization.
Sands described her daughter as a loving, caring, and helpful person who always had a smile. Multiple posts on the Facebook memorial page echoed that description.
“Why pull a trigger on a girl with a smile on her face?” one post asked. “She was living so right, so young with a future.”
Many people who did not know Robinson sent their condolences on the memorial page as well, helping to make up the 70,000 members of the group.
Wills expressed ongoing efforts to address gun violence, in addition to a recent allocation of $4.8 million in programs such as Cure Violence whose goal is to combat violence in areas with high crime.
He added that he and Quinn are “working on legislation right now that we are hoping to present to the City Council and have a hearing on at the beginning of June that will begin to direct resources to these communities.”
Wills called the shooting heinous and senseless, but emphasized that Saturday’s shooting was the first incident of gun violence in the South Jamaica Cure Violence target area in more than 250 days.
Published news reports have attributed the shooting to gang related-violence between the EBK and Snow gangs. According to police sources they cited, the target of the shooting was a girl who was with Robinson on the bus.
At the Community Council meeting on Monday night, Banks said there have been problems with witnesses.
“There are people who were on the bus who are not coming forward,” Banks said. “Some people have a problem talking with the police? Tell someone else. Send an anonymous letter. Call us. Email us. Right now getting the information is more important to us than the name of the person giving it.”
The fund for Robinson that is being administered by QueenzFlip and his mother through their corporation T “Flip” R, LLC can be found atfacebook.com/dajarobinsonfund.
This Facebook page includes the link to the PayPal information needed to send a donation. Sentiments to the family can also be sent by email firstname.lastname@example.org.