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Family Gathers to Remember 11-Year-Old Girl Killed
SEDAMSVILLE, Ohio (Curtis Jackson) -- Shanti Lanza was shot and killed over the weekend.
Her father has been charged with causing her death. It was a family tragedy, but its impact is stretching beyond the Sedamsville house where it happened.
Last year, two 14-year-old boys were among a rising number of homicides. The new year is still young and already an even younger life has been cut short.
Classmates of Shanti Lanza are coping with her death by putting their feelings in writing.
"We think about it everyday and we write letters and stuff to her. We put it by her seat where everyday she sat."
Tuesday night, dozens bearing candles and balloons share their grief and pray for peace. This solemn vigil comes just days after Shanti was shot and killed inside her Delhi Avenue home.
Police say her father, 35-year-old Deandre Kelly, was fighting with Shanti's mother. Kelly is accused of reckless homicide for firing a shot into the ceiling that killed his 11-year-old daughter as she slept in her bed in an upstairs room.
"It's incredibly sad. I have a four-year-old son, I can't imagine something like this happening to him."
Isolated as this tragedy may have been, Mayor Cranley says it still points to the growing problem of gun violence in Cincinnati.
"We have way too many shootings in this city and we're going to be making aggressive steps over the next couple of weeks."
In the meantime, the very young grieve for one of their own.
"It's a shame we had to see her go."
Mayor Cranley says he is working with police and city council on ways to fight gun violence, including more community outreach, foot and bike patrols, and hiring more police officers.
Funeral arrangements for Shanti Lanza have not been announced. Her father, Deandre Kelly, faces three years in prison if convicted.