MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Traveling by horse and buggy from Shiloh Temple International Ministries in North Minneapolis to the Lakewood Cemetery on the city’s side south side, Aniya Allen’s tiny pink casket and large tiara made the 5-mile journey to her final resting place.
"It’s sad, it hurts," says Kesha, while watching the procession go by and holding a sign reading "Put the guns down." "I don’t wish to see none of my babies in a casket. I can only imagine what the parents are going through."
Allen’s family shared their grief with those down West Broadway, Lyndale Avenue and beyond, in the hopes the community and person responsible for killing a 6-year-old get a small glimpse of their pain.
"Aniya was a loving and bright, outgoing, silly little girl. She loved being with her family and friends," read Aaron Chappell from her obituary. Family describes Chappell as Aniya’s bonus dad.
"That smile, that laugh, that gap between her teeth, it’s what made Aniya one of a kind; one of the sweetest you’ve ever meet," Curtain Wilson read from a poem she wrote for her niece. "I’m so sorry this happened to you. The violence needs to stop."
While this was very much a celebration of life, complete with plenty of pink and Allen’s favorite princesses, the service doubled as another call to action to stop the violence within Minneapolis.
"The inspiration for whatever you’ve seen me do in this community that you thought was good was this little girl," said KG Wilson.
Like many at the service, KG Wilson found strength by leaning on his faith, but admits while working for decades to prevent tragedies like this, saying goodbye to his own granddaughter is pain beyond words.
"You only took the body, but the spirit is still right here with us!" he said.
In addition to the Minneapolis Police Chief, Hennepin County Sheriff and Mayor, several state and local law makers came to the service to pay their respects. No arrests have been made in the case, and a $30,000 dollar reward for information leading to an arrest is still available for anyone who can help investigators find the people responsible for shooting three children in recent weeks in North Minneapolis.