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'We want people to remember Makaylah' | Family of slain 9-year-old hopes for end to gun violence

A Sacramento family lives with the loss of Makaylah Brent every day after she was shot and killed nearly a year ago at Mama Marks Park.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With two more homicides happening in the last 24 hours in Sacramento, the family of a slain nine-year-old says the gun violence needs to stop.

It comes amid an emotional milestone for Makaylah Brent's family. Aug. 12 was Makaylah's birthday. She would have turned 10 years old. 

She shared a birthday with her mother, Candace Fleming, who celebrated the day for the first time without her little girl.  

10 months ago, Makaylah was playing at Mama Marks Parks when she was shot and killed in an alleged drive-by shooting during a violent weekend in Sacramento.

Her killing outraged the community, spurring activism in the streets, prompting cameras in the park and bringing calls for more services in Del Paso Heights. 

Nearly a year ago, this birthday would have been a celebration adorned with mermaids and seashells. Instead, it's a celebration through heartbreak of a 9-year-old girl's life.

"I'll never forget my baby," Candace Fleming said.

The family holds on to hope that their little girl didn't die in vain.

"We want people to remember her name. We want people to remember Makaylah," said Kay Fleming, Makaylah's grandmother.

For now, the family deals with the slow-turning wheels of justice. 21-year-old Laise Hands was arraigned on murder and weapons charges in mid-October. Since then, a settlement conference has been pushed back three separate times, according to court documents.

The next court hearing for the defendant is scheduled for next Wednesday.
It will be the first time that it is not being held over Zoom.

Makaylah's family lives with their loss everyday, and they are urging Sacramento to continue fighting for peace and justice for Makaylah.

"I hope we can stop the violence, because I lost something very very special to me," Candace said.

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