MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Wednesday, a community came together to remember 6-year-old Aniya Allen. She was one of three children in north Minneapolis shot in the head by random gunfire last month.
Aniya's friends and family filled Shiloh Temple International Ministries Wednesday morning for the funeral service led by Bishop Richard Howell.
He described Aniya as a "little giant," saying she lived her short 6 years of life bigger than most.
"She was little in stature, but big in life," said Howell. "She had just as much right to live like anyone else."
The dozens of people who filled the sanctuary go beyond Aniya's immediate friends and family. Three different peace activist groups, including EMERGE, We Push For Peace, and A Mother's Love, Minneapolis City Council members, Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo all came to show their support.
"God had to deliver me years ago, so that I could be a positive grandfather," said KG Wilson, as he pointed to the casket of his granddaughter while giving a eulogy. Wilson has spent decades in Minneapolis helping families who have lost someone to gun violence and working with gang members to help them find a way out of a life of crime.
"You only took the body because the spirit is still right here with us," Wilson preached to the crowd, his words directed at whoever killed his granddaughter, Aniya.
After the service, balloons released to the sky and a horse-drawn carriage took Aniya's body and casket down busy streets of Minneapolis. This was an intentional move to get the public's attention.
"Her body being shown around this community is definitely a reminder to us all that we can do a better job in bringing the community together," said Howell.
The procession made its way across Minneapolis along Lyndale to Lakewood Cemetery. Her family followed the carriage in their cars making sure everyone knows the big legacy of a small girl named Aniya Allen.
"Say her name" was being chanted from all the cars, with passengers holding up pictures of Aniya.
What made Wednesday even more painful: there are no arrests for Aniya's murder yet. The city is offering a $30,000 reward and Arradondo is currently looking into outside donors to try and raise the reward.
Remember, you can submit tips anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
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