Heads bowed, a group of mourners shared prayers and released balloons into the night sky Friday for Raven Gant, who was killed during a domestic argument in north Minneapolis last month.
Gant, 27, was shot, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, Randall Watkins, after going to his home in the 2600 block of N. James Avenue with the couple's 2-year-old daughter to retrieve some belongings, police said. They said Gant's daughter was standing over her mother's body when officers arrived.
Watkins, 41, remains jailed after being charged with second-degree murder earlier this week.
The vigil, held in the parking lot of a North Side church, was led by longtime anti-violence activist K.G. Wilson, Gant's best friend Jiccarra Hollman and civil rights activist Nekima Levy-Armstrong. Wilson thanked the crowd for braving the cold and reminded them to keep their loved ones close.
Afterward, Gant's mother, Lakecia Gant, said that her daughter had always wanted the best for her own daughter. She was into fashion and had been working to raise her credit score enough to buy a house, Lakecia said, a passion that the two of them shared.
"She started coaching me, she's like: 'Mom, all you've gotta do is go to Credit Karma and start monitoring and then they'll tell you everything you need to do,' " she said, referring to the credit and financial management website. "She didn't like to ask anybody for anything, and that's why it was so hard for us to have to ask for help to bury her — because Raven wasn't that type of soul."
As she spoke, several people stopped to give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
For now, Lakecia Gant said, she was focused on raising money to pay for counseling for Raven's daughter, who was having trouble sleeping and sometimes wakes up, imaging that she has blood on her hands.
"She's been freaking out, saying, 'Look this pink on my hands,' and then I'll wash them," Lakecia Gant said, "and then she'll forget about them for a couple seconds and she'll look at them again and start crying, saying she can't get it off."