DETROIT (WJBK) - “She's gone but she feels close to me sometimes, a lot of times.”
Jennifer Stalker says not a day goes by that she doesn't think about her daughter Paige. One year ago gunfire pierced the parked car 16-year-old Paige and four other teens were sitting in at the corner of Philip and Charlevoix in Detroit. Paige was the only one who did not survive.
Her mother always wondered, why and who could do such a thing?
“Something so easy as a bunch of kids driving right over the Grosse Pointe border they get shot up with a spray of 30 gunshots from AK-47. It doesn't make sense. The whole thing never made sense to me.”
It didn't make sense because, according to police sources, the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.
Earlier that day, last December 22, there was an argument between members of two rival gangs known for violent crimes and selling drugs in front of a gas station near the Grosse Pointe/Detroit border.
Two of the men left, but they eventually came back. This time they had long guns, but the guys they were looking for were gone.
The two men drove around the corner and spotted a Mercury Milan parked on Philip near Charlevoix. In the dark of night, it was similar to the car driven by the guys they were looking for.
The gunmen - looking to retaliate - got out and opened fire spraying more than 30 rounds in the parked car with the five teens inside.
“To have them behind bars and off the streets is really important for us all. The more dangerous people that we get off the streets, the better off we’re all going to be.”
Initially, police thought there was one shooter, but with different descriptions of suspects and casings left at the scene, investigators determined there were two.
Sources say there are two persons of interest who we've learned were locked up a few weeks later on unrelated charges. Both have since been convicted and are now serving time for unrelated crimes.
“We together just have to keep fighting – keep fighting for justice.”
As police work to put together their case, Jennifer Stalker says she is working to do her part by speaking out against gun violence and teaching others how important it is to speak up. She also started the Save Our Children's Future Foundation to help teach kids how to be safe.
One year later, Jennifer says it's the work that keeps her going.
Each day she hopes her family will someday get the closure they deserve.
“I think it's important because someone took Paige’s life so easily and she had a lot to give to this world. She was going to be a doctor she was going to help others.”
Police are still working the case. The Detroit Police Department says it’s investigating several leads.
There is still a $162,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.