'The pain has not gone away': On Aniya Allen's birthday, family continues plea for justice

Aniya Allen, 6, was shot in the head while she was in a vehicle in north Minneapolis on May 17, 2021. (Family)

As Aniya Allen’s family released balloons to celebrate what would’ve been her seventh birthday, frustration remains as those responsible for her death are still at large.

Family and community members say that frustration can only begin to fade when there is a person behind bars for the shooting.  

"My day starts off with anger each day because there’s still no missed call or missed text that says we got justice," said activist KG Wilson, Aniya's grandfather.  

Aniya’s family said she should be at the park celebrating with other children, but someone took that away from them on May 17 when she was fatally struck by a stray bullet while riding in the car with her mom in Minneapolis.

Aniya was one of three children shot in Minneapolis over the course of three weeks this past spring. 

On May 15, Trinity Ottoson-Smith was jumping on a trampoline at a friend’s birthday party when she was struck by a bullet in the 2200 block of Ilion Avenue North. She was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition and died from her injuries 12 days later. Her family is also pleading for someone to come forward with information on her shooting.

On April 30, Ladavionne was shot in the head by a stray bullet while riding in the car with his parents. The shooting happened near the intersection of North 35th Avenue and Morgan Avenue North. The shooting left the 10-year-old in a coma and fighting for his life. In late July, his family said he had lifted his head on his own, a promising sign for his recovery. 

"This pain has not gone away. It went from sad tears and grieving to anger," Wilson said. "Turn yourself in. You got to be tired of running and hiding. Those who know who did this…turn them in. Don’t continue to watch us and shake your head."  

Since the shootings, police and community members have demanded answers and offered a total reward of $180,000 for information. Spotlight on Crime and Crime Stoppers are offering the combined $180,000 reward. Call 1-800-222-8477 or visit CrimeStoppersMN.org.