By Tomas Kassahun
About 50 people gathered Wednesday night for a vigil in memory of a 9-year-old old girl who was shot and killed Sunday night west of Highway 99 in Fresno.
The vigil was held at Clinton and Marks avenues, where Janessa Ramirez and her mother were when a stray bullet from a gang dispute hit Janessa.
Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said on Tuesday he has 40 detectives working the case. A $22,500 reward is being offered for tips leading to an arrest.
On Wednesday night, family, friends and neighbors said prayers, lit candles and sang for the girl who they described as someone who lit up a room with a smile.
Blanca Rodriguez, a neighbor, came to show her respect.
“I’ve been living in this area for a long time and I just feel like it’s so close to home. It’s just so sad something like this happened in Fresno, in this area,” Rodriguez said. “Crime is just getting worse. You can’t even go anywhere anymore and be safe. That’s what’s so hard, especially for a little girl to die because of the situation.”
Joe Rocha, a close friend of the Ramirez family, expressed mixed emotions at the vigil.
“You feel a sense of sadness and remorse, anger and hatred. It’s a 9-year-old baby,” Rocha said. “You just have to have faith and believe some good will come out of it. You have to put your hopes in the hands of law enforcement and hope that Jerry Dyer is a man of his word.”