WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It has been almost three months since Ayana McAllister, a college freshman from Upper Marlboro, Md., was shot and killed outside an apartment complex in Northeast D.C. while watching a music video get filmed.
Saturday, her family and friends returned to the apartment complex to hold a birthday party in her memory, as she would have turned 19 today, and to ask for her murderer to turn themselves in.
"I forgive you. I forgive you for killing my daughter, but just turn yourself in and get yourself right. Get your life together," said Tyreese McAllister, Ayana's mother, when addressing the dozens who attended the event.
"We just remember her as a sweet, spirited, young lady who was ready to take life on. She was doing the right thing, she was in college, we had never had any issues out of her," added her father, Anthony McAllister.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said investigators do not have much information on this case, but added they do not believe McAllister was the shooter's intended target.
"But that shooter is responsible for her death, and if he’s any kind of a man, he needs to come forward," added Newsham.
In her honor, McAllister’s parents donated a rose bush to be planted at the apartment complex. For her parents, the day was not only about celebrating the life their daughter had lived, but the one she had ahead of her.
"I mean, I’m sad for us, but I’m sad because I think the world is missing a beautiful spirit," said Tyreese McAllister.
Her parents said McAllister was interested in becoming a police officer and was going to college to make that dream a reality. They have created a scholarship in her name and said the first year's scholarship will go towards a student studying in the same field, but they may expand its scope in the following years.
"We want to help children have hope to not be in an area where they have to pickup guns and commit crimes, that they have bigger things to deal with," said Tyreese McAllister.