Chanell Berry laid to rest on what should have been 8th birthday

Monday should have been Chanell Berry's 8th birthday. Instead, it was her funeral.

- A little girl who was shot and killed inside her own home has been laid to rest on the day that should have been her eighth birthday.

On Monday, Chanell Berry was sent off with white doves, flowers, and balloons. As her small white casket was carried to the hearse, the birds were released in what mourners call a sad - yet beautiful - goodbye.

"It was very sad. It was, but it was beautiful. It was a beautiful going away. It was beautiful," Brenda Wilkins said.

Chanell was a cheerleader and a star student. She was playing with her Christmas gifts during a party at a home on Steel Street on the Sunday after Christmas. It was then that someone started shooting from outside the home; the response after an argument earlier that day.

Ortagus Jackson with the Marcus Garvey Movement was at the funeral. Eight days after the girl's he still is asking the question so many are asking: why?

"Why? Why? Just why? You couldn't talk it out? You couldn't sit down and talk about what was going on? You had to go get a gun?" Jackson said. "Our youth, they look up to us to take care of them. Not to kill them."

Police say 23-year-old Sharonda Benson had been involved in the argument and left the home with the promise that she'd be back.

Gunfire erupted with Chanell and her eight-year-old friend shot. Chanell was killed and the other girl was hospitalized.

Benson turned herself in to police. She and her 22-year-old relative were arrested but late last week, both were released, pending further investigation.

So why aren't those suspected of committing the crime behind bars? That's a question mourners were asking as well.

"I'm disappointed that the people they assume done this is not in custody and they let them go but I have faith in DPD that they're going to get their man," Garvey said.

"This murder and this raping around here has to stop but we only stop it when we come together as a community," Hassan Williams said.

State law says suspects can be held for up to 72 hours without charges. The Wayne County Medical Examiner ruled the girl's death was a homicide.

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