Candlelight vigil held for girl slain in drive-by shooting

lmorris@macon.comNovember 24, 2013 

About 200 friends, family and schoolmates of 16-year-old Alyssa Jackson, who was shot and killed last week, gathered Sunday night at her mother and grandmother’s home for a candlelight vigil.

“She was a happy little girl,” Hannah Rhodes, a data clerk at Southwest High School, said at the vigil. “The loss -- I still don’t believe it. I just saw her and hugged her Wednesday. It makes no sense. ... I can’t imagine the pain her parents are in, I can’t imagine that.”

The family plans to hold a vigil at 5:30 p.m. at 2716 Alden St. each night this week, her father, Sebastian Jackson, said Sunday.

Jackson was shot Thursday night as she visited with friends in the Unionville neighborhood.

The teenager was outside the Cedar Avenue house of her godmother Andrea Gooden, A witness told investigators that a brown Cadillac drove by a group of men at the corner of Cedar Avenue and began firing gunshots at the men. One of shots hit Alyssa Jackson in the back, and she ran inside the Gooden home before collapsing.

Another shot hit Charleston Burnett III, 13, who was riding in his grandfather’s pickup on Cedar Avenue. A bullet went through the back window passenger’s headrest and glanced Burnett’s head.

The vigil was held to “commemorate the girl’s life and celebrate our faith in God and ... offering our love to people who have experienced similar tragedies,” Sebastian Jackson said.

The teenager’s boyfriend, Dejuana Clark, 16, said he would miss Alyssa’s smile, “her love and her kiss. I just miss her with my whole heart.”

Deja Lamar, 15, said she had gone to school with Alyssa since elementary school.

“She was my best friend,” Deja said. “She was funny, and she helped me when I had problems with my family.”

When asked what she would miss most, Deja and her friend Dondrea Sallad, 16, said at the same time, “her laugh and her smile,” then both broke into tears.

The funeral is planned for Saturday with arrangements by Hicks & Son Mortuary on Anthony Road, Sebastian Jackson said.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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