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Family, friends gather at memorial vigil for girl killed in drive-by shooting

Ronziyah Atkins, 8, shot to death outside Belle Glade home
Posted at 2:27 AM, Feb 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-06 02:27:10-05

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — The family of Ronziyah Atkins is calling for answers after she was shot and killed outside her home during a drive-by shooting Friday night in Belle Glade.

"I don't know what happened," the 8-year-old's grandmother told WPTV.

Now a $25,000 reward is being offered to find the person responsible.

"Right now, I can't even tell you how I'm feeling," Deante Crawford, Ziyah's godbrother, said.

Crawford was taking care of the family children when the gunfire started.

Detectives search for clues in fatal shooting of 8-year-old girl in Belle Glade
Detectives search the ground for shell casings and other evidence in the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old girl outside her Belle Glade home.

"And once I heard the first shot, I was pushing them like, 'Come on, come on, come on. Everybody go in the back room and get down. Everybody go in the back room and get down,'" Crawford said.

But Ziyah never made it to safety.

"When I walked outside, I saw her just laying there, so I grabbed her and I put her in my arms and I was like, 'Come on Ziyah, come on,'" Crawford said.

Ziyah was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

Family and loved ones gathered outside her home Saturday night for a memorial vigil.

"She'd be so proud, because this seems like this the only time that we really do get together, stick together, when tragedy happens, and it's a shame, but we just gotta love on each other more," Grandma Missy said.

She described her granddaughter as a sweet girl full of life with dreams of becoming a teacher.

As they lit candles and released balloons, they remained hopeful the community can help find Ziyah's killer.

"Just pray. Just pray that Ziyah gets justice," Grandma Missy said.