“Just a memory away:” Hundreds gather to remember Laylah Petersen one year after her death

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MILWAUKEE -- It was one year ago today that five-year-old Laylah Petersen was shot and killed while sitting on her grandpa's lap. Friday night, November 6th a vigil was held at Our Lady of Good Hope Church to remember the little girl.

Laylah Petersen

Laylah Petersen

Hundreds packed the church, including members of Laylah's family -- it was a night to heal.

Laylah's gentle smile is etched in so many hearts...

"You can see it in her face. I think that's what touches people," said Faith Builders Church Pastor, Richard Schwoegler.

And one year later, the death of little Laylah Petersen is not forgotten.

Our Lady of Good Hope Church

Our Lady of Good Hope Church

"Laylah loved people. I wish, one day I will meet her," said Schwoegler.

Christopher Lee keeps an image of Laylah close to his heart.

Laylah Petersen vigil

Laylah Petersen vigil

"You never know when it's going to be your last day, or your child's," said Christopher Lee, praying for Laylah.

It was on November 6th, 2014 when bullets entered Laylah's home near 58th and Fairmount. The little girl was sitting on her grandpa's lap when she was struck in the head with two gunshots. She later died at the hospital.

Investigators say the men responsible "shot at the wrong house," allegedly in retaliation to another crime. Those three men, 20-year-old Carl Barrett, 23-year-old Arlis Gordon, and 24-year-old Paul Farr, were only just arrested last month.

Carl Barrett, Arlis Gordon, Paul Farr

Carl Barrett, Arlis Gordon, Paul Farr

"There is justice that is going forward right now," said Schwoegler.

With pain and grief still raw, some find comfort in a poem:

"If times of loneliness bring sorrow and dismay, don't despair, for I am there just a memory away."

Several Milwaukee police officers in uniform attended Friday's service. Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn was also there.

Volunteers even handed out wristbands that read, "Laylah Forever."


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