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Vigil Honors ‘Perfect’ Teen Killed by Stray Bullet

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday, Aug. 17 for a candlelight vigil in Northeast to mourn the life of Jamahri Sydnor, a teen who died in the crossfire of midday shooting.

The vigil was held near the site of the shooting where family and friends remembered the victim, known to them as “Jammi.” The 17-year-old died in the hospital Aug. 12, two days after being shot in the head at the intersection of Montana and Saratoga avenues by a stray bullet while driving.

“Jamahri was a good girl,” said her mother Q Wallace, a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) detective. “She was perfect. She was perfect, and I know in the real big scheme of things that she had her flaws because we all do, but she was perfect for us. She was perfect for her family.

“The day that this tragedy stepped into [our lives], the way that somebody just shot at my baby’s head and snatched the breath out of her, she was on her way taking my grandson, her nephew, [to get] getting prepared for my daughter’s wedding the next day,” she said.

Police do not believe Jamahri was the shooter’s intended target and they are looking for two other people in connection with the shooting, which also left another man wounded.

Philip Carlos McDaniel, 21, of Northeast, was arrested Thursday and charged with assault with intent to kill.

Jamahri, a recent graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Northwest, was set to start college at Florida A&M University within days of her shooting. She had visited with family just weeks before.

The teen led her high school’s cheerleading team, sang in the choir and served as a peer counselor to struggling classmates.

“She loved life, and she was so excited to start the next chapter,” Cmdr. Chanel Dickerson, who heads MPD’s Youth and Family Services Division, said of Jamahri at the vigil. “This young girl had everything going for her. We have heard stories that her parents didn’t even know existed. She gave rides to help people get jobs. She was a remarkable young woman, and her life ended too soon.

“The community should be outraged,” Dickerson said. “The persons responsible [for the shooting] deliberately tried to kill someone that afternoon, and at that moment they decided that our lives didn’t matter.”

The vigil ended with the release of pink balloons as attendees yelled, “We love you, Jammi!” But not before officers from the Upper Darby Township Police Department in Pennsylvania thanked the girl’s family for donating her organs, a gesture that saved one of their own, Officer Arty Erle.

Erle, who battled with colon cancer, had been waiting for a liver transplant. He is one of six people saved by the donation of the teen’s organs.

Upper Darby Sargent Scott Lewis said the act was “an incredible gift at an incredible time of grief and sorrow.”

MPD seeks the public’s assistance in gathering information related to this homicide and currently offers up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible.

“Someone out there knows who killed my baby,” Wallace said. “Somebody out there knows who did it. I’ve been a member of [MPD] for almost 30 years, and I promise you that the great men and women I’ve worked with are not going to stop until they get the person who killed my baby.”

Anonymous tips can be made at 202-727-9099 or texted to 50411.

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Tatyana Hopkins – Washington Informer Contributing Writer

Tatyana Hopkins has always wanted to make the world a better place. Growing up she knew she wanted to be a journalist. To her there were too many issues in the world to pick a career that would force her to just tackle one. The recent Howard University graduate is thankful to have a job and enjoys the thrill she gets from chasing the story, meeting new people and adding new bits of obscure information to her knowledge base. Dubbed with the nickname “Fun Fact” by her friends, Tatyana seems to be full of seemingly “random and useless” facts. Meanwhile, the rising rents in D.C. have driven her to wonder about the length of the adverse possession statute of limitations (15 years?). Despite disliking public speaking, she remembers being scolded for talking in class or for holding up strangers in drawn-out conversations. Her need to understand the world and its various inhabitants frequently lands her in conversations on topics often deemed taboo: politics, religion and money. Tatyana avoided sports in high school she because the thought of a crowd watching her play freaked her out, but found herself studying Arabic, traveling to Egypt and eating a pigeon. She uses social media to scope out meaningful and interesting stories and has been calling attention to fake news on the Internet for years.

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