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Family of teen killed in Southwest Baltimore questions law that protects her alleged shooter

Family of teen killed in Southwest Baltimore questions law that protects her alleged shooter
Family of teen killed in Southwest Baltimore questions law that protects her alleged shooter 02:27

BALTIMORE -- It has been nearly one week since a 9-year-old shot and killed 15-year-old NyKayla Strawder in Southwest Baltimore, and the Strawder family is renewing its call for justice.

Friday afternoon, Strawder's great-aunt and cousin held a press conference outside their home, hoping it would bring them closer to clarity. 

"I just want justice," said Donyette McCray, Strawder's great-aunt.

McCray said she helped raise Strawder for roughly eight years. 

Police called the shooting that killed Strawder an accidental discharge.

But Strawder's family doesn't agree with that assessment.

"This was a homicide," said Reynard Parks, Strawder's cousin. "Unfortunately, it was a homicide happening to a child by a child, and we're expecting accountability."

But a new Maryland law is shielding the 9-year-old shooter, who cannot be charged with a crime. State Senator Jill Carter (D-Baltimore City) sponsored the bill. 

"Prosecuting children at very young ages is counterproductive," Carter said earlier this week. "It often causes them way more trauma and it doesn't, in the end result, keep the public any safer." 

But Parks said the bill should be torn up and lawmakers along with city leaders should go back to the drawing board. 

The loaded handgun belongs to the 9-year-old boy's female relative who is a security guard, according to police. 

"The adult has to be and should be held responsible," Mayor Brandon Scott said on Friday. 

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said charges still may be filed. 

"We are working with our State's Attorney's Office to make sure that justice is appropriately served," he said. 

But Strawder's family said they want to know the name of the company that employs the shooter's relative. 

In the meantime, Strawder's 8-year-old sister keeps asking where she is, according to her family. 

"I told her that she was in heaven and that she was our angel watching down on her," McCray said. 

Strawder's funeral will be held late next week at Wylie Funeral Home, which is located at 701 N. Mount Street. There will be a public viewing on Thursday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

On Friday, her wake and funeral will be held at Greater New Hope Baptist Church, which is located at 2720 W. North Avenue. The wake is at 10 a;m. and the funeral service is at 10:30 a.m.

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