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Vigils held in 2 places to remember teen slain in New Jersey

July 27, 2019

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Friends and family of a teenager girl shot and killed in a New Jersey apartment gathered in a pair of vigils to remember her as a suspect was charged in her slaying.

Children released balloons saying “We love you, Naimah” as dozens gathered Friday night near the Atlantic City unit where 15-year-old Naimah Bell was found shot in the head early Thursday.

“This was an innocent baby taken from us,” community leader Lonniyell Sykes told the crowd. “And we want to make sure this doesn’t happen to any of you young people out here. We don’t want the grave to be filled with any more.”

Sykes encouraged the young people in the crowd to speak up when they see something wrong and to join a march against violence Monday. The group lit candles and placed them at the trunk of a tree as the sun set.

Meanwhile, in Pleasantville, friends gathered in a park to remember Bell, greeting each other with hugs.

“She’d light up the room when she came in,” said Niyyah Callaway, holding back tears at the Pleasantville vigil. “She was beautiful, smart and everyone loved her.”

Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner announced charges Friday against 18-year-old Nahquil Lovest of Pleasantville. A possible motive wasn’t released and it’s unclear whether Lovest has an attorney. Tyner also called for community efforts against violence.

“Sadly, another young life in our community has been cut short, and others have been traumatized,” Tyner said in a news release Friday. “Our community is better than this. We must protect our children.”

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