More than 2 years since honor roll teen killed in drive-by shooting
DETROIT (FOX 2) - "Just try to understand, why her? Out of all the people that was out there, why her [sic]?"
That's Tawanna Rankin's question to the gunman who sped up and down the street on Oct. 16, 2016 and lost his cool.
Her daughter, 15-year-old Jada Rankin, spent the day celebrating a birthday party at her grandmother's home on Ardmore near Grand River and Schoolcraft on Detroit's west side. When Jada's brother flagged down the driver to stop speeding, the guy snapped, pulled out a gun and opened fire into the crowd.
Jada was struck and died at the hospital.
More than two years later the case has grown cold but her family is still holding out hope someone will speak up.
"It's just hard to understand, hard to believe that a young lady that had everything going for her and then it was all taken away in seconds," Tawanna says.
Right now, the shooter remains at large and any witnesses are keeping quiet. Jada's uncle drove after the gunman but lost control and hit a light pole.
"There was another young lady in the car. No one has spoken up. I tell people all the time, if he didn't know he killed someone that night, he knew he killed someone by that morning," Tawanna says. "And then the young lady that was in the car, how are you living? How are you sleeping, knowing you were in the car when a young man shot and killed a 15-year-old young lady."
Jada would have been a senior in high school. Her plans to graduate on the honor roll, attend college and build a life were all taken away.
"On the first day of school, I couldn't even work. I just cried all day because that's all she thought about was being a senior. I really don't have any thoughts, just trying to get through that she would have graduated in 2019," Tawanna says.
The holiday season is even worse.
"Every day is bad but the holidays are the worst because Christmas are made for babies, they're made for children. Christmas was always Jada's holiday. I don't go anywhere for Christmas."
This grieving mother continues to fight for justice.
To honor Jada's memory, Sawyer Park, which is down the street from where Jada was shot, will be renamed after her.
Right now police don't have any strong leads on this case. They're hoping by showing people this tragedy again people in the community will give them a call.
If you have any information at this point, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. The cash reward for information leading to an arrest is more than $1,300.