‘She will never be forgotten’: Dozens gather for vigil honoring 16-year-old shot and killed in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — About 50 friends and family members gathered at the spot where a 16-year-old girl was fatally shot early Sunday morning to honor her life and the impact she had on people.

Police responded to reports of a shooting just before 1 a.m. at the Wawa on John Young Parkway near Silver Star Road.

Police said Tavyiah King, who attended Evans High School, had just left a party in the area.

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Responding officers found the victim a short distance away on Silver Star Road. She was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital, where she died.

On Monday evening, the group bowed their heads in prayer and pleaded for help from God in finding the person or people responsible.

They cried, sang, released balloons and embraced one another through the tragedy.

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Her loved ones spoke about the incredible student she was, her fun-loving spirit and the bright future she had.

They say she had dreams of being a veterinarian and that she loved all animals, especially dogs.

Through tears, her little brother Nicholas shared his pain.

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“She made everything fun, and the fact that she’s gone is going to be different, and she will never be forgotten,” he said. “She wanted to make the world a better place, and now that she’s gone we will try to make the world a better place for her.”

During a news conference Monday, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said investigators don’t believe King was the intended target and that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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“Earlier that evening she attended a gathering. The car she was riding in was at the Wawa station and appeared it had been the target of the shooters,” Chief Rolon said, “Someone at that gas station didn’t think twice about shooting into a car that was filled with other people.”

Channel 9 spoke to King’s mother Sunday night and said the last time she her daughter was Friday night after she dropped her off to spend the night with her friend.

“I told her I loved her and to be safe and to have fun,” said the victim’s mother, Alisha Rodriguez. “We are all broken. I just want my baby. I just want her to rest in peace.”

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According to police, there are no suspects at this time. Police would not say whether or not this shooting was gang-related.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding this deadly shooting to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS(8477).

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Karen Parks

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.