Community holds second vigil for 6-year-old murdered by father

A small group of South Bend residents gathered together Thursday night to honor 6-year-old Shirley Mundia.

Nearly two weeks ago, Shirley was stabbed to death by her father, Edward Mwaura, before he was shot and killed by police.

"It reminded me of the pain that everybody went through with little Tramelle once again," said Michael Elliott with the On-site Prayer Ministry. "Violence to a child is just unfathomable that somebody could do that."

The ministry holds vigils for every St. Joseph County homicide victim, but Thursday's was especially difficult. The community is still trying to cope with the shocking news of the 6-year-old's murder. It's a case that even proved difficult to police.

"It's traumatic. It's absolutely traumatic," said South Bend Police Chief Ron Teachman. "It may be one of the worst response and calls to service we may face in our career. We hope they never have to respond to a call like this again."

Several questions have been raised about whether the brutal attack could have been prevented after it was discovered a deputy prosecutor decided not to prosecute Mwaura for invasion of privacy just days before the attack.

But, city officials are looking forward to how they can continue to ensure residents' safety.

"I think everybody's doing some soul searching and asking some practical questions about whether the system worked -- well, we know the system didn't work," said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. "So, what can we be doing better as a community to protect our children?"

Residents will have one more chance to honor Shirley before her body is taken back to Kenya for burial. There will be a viewing from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Alford's Mortuary Saturday. A memorial service will immediately follow at the Pentacostal Cathedral on Western Avenue.

Shirley's family is still collecting donations to help pay for funeral expenses.

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