“Tragedy into triumph:” Family, friends of 9-year-old Za’layia Jenkins create living legacy in her honor

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MILWAUKEE -- Tragedy struck a Milwaukee family last May, when nine-year-old Za'layia Jenkins was struck by a stray bullet while inside her home near 15th and Meinecke. She passed away 11 days later from her injuries. Saturday, August 13th family, friends and even strangers began working on Za'layia's legacy.

Za'layia Jenkins

Za'layia Jenkins

Picking up the pieces after a devastating loss is an incredible burden.

"It just broke my heart. A tragedy has happened for us to get to this point here," said Vikki Love, from Detroit, Michigan.

On May 5th, nine-year-old Za'layia Jenkins was struck by a stray bullet during a “shootout” between two groups of armed individuals while inside her home.

Nine-year-old Za'layia Jenkins shot near 15th and Meinecke

Nine-year-old Za'layia Jenkins shot near 15th and Meinecke

"My family's goal is to try and turn this tragedy into a triumph," said Romona Boone, Za'layia Jenkins aunt.

Ramona Boone

Ramona Boone

It's now been three months since the shooting.

The family continues to heal with a growing sense of "we don't have to do this alone."

"Perennials, we brought perennials, and we brought purple because it's to our understanding the little girl, she liked purple," said Love.

Za'layia Jenkins garden

Za'layia Jenkins garden

With a corner lot donated by the city, family and friends started to dig in.

Za'layia Jenkins garden

Za'layia Jenkins garden

"So each year she will grow," said Boone.

Za'layia Jenkins garden

Za'layia Jenkins garden

They're creating a living tribute for a little girl taken too soon. But whose memory will thrive in the Milwaukee neighborhood.

"When they hear Za'layia's name, I don't want them to think about her death I want them to think about her legacy," said Boone.

Police are still searching for Za'layia's shooter. Both the FBI and Attorney Michael Hupy are offering cash rewards for information leading to an arrest.

Za'layia Jenkins garden

Za'layia Jenkins garden

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