Elkhart Girl Remembered


A community mourns the loss of a young Elkhart girl today.

This afternoon hundreds gathered to remember eleven-year old Aaliyah Joiner.

She was found at her grandparent's house on Monday night with a gunshot wound to the head.

Today she was laid to rest flocked by a large family and many friends.

More than 500 friends and family squeezed into Agape Mission Baptist Church in Elkhart to remember Aaliyah Joiner.

“It was a very good tribute for somebody of her caliber. I mean she had great character she was just a sweet little girl. For eleven years old you don't get that many people at a sports game,” says family member Tracey Degraffreed.

“Always happy always smiling just a great great young lady who was raised right from a great family just a smile as big as the sun and I can say she will be missed,” says family member Dorese Hill.

Several ministers spoke at the funeral service as well as students and teachers from Hawthrone Elementary where Aaliyah and her family were very involved.

The 5th grader played for three basketball teams so coaches and teammates shared stories of her days on the court.

“We tried to manage the game and she be out there on the bench and we'd be like look at her our their running the plays look at her out there running defense that's the type of person she was always willing to help,” says one coach.

“A lot of times we would play basketball together and we got together for Thanksgiving… just sit around the table and laugh and joke,” says cousin Evelyn Sutton.

At the service her brand new jersey number 23 was retired. It had yet to be even worn by the little girl full of life whose life ended to soon.

“She will always be in our hearts and she will always be a part of the pride of the south side!” exclaimed one speaker at the funeral.

The investigation into Joiner's death is ongoing. So far, police have arrested two people in connection to the crime.

Charges are still pending against Joiner's 12-year-old cousin, who apparently shot her.

This week, a juvenile magistrate said the boy will be held another week until prosecutors decide whether to charge him.

Friday, police arrested a 16-year-old boy; they say he is responsible for giving the gun to Joiner's cousin.

They believe the 16-year-old had the gun at Memorial High School the day Joiner was shot.


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