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‘She was walking joy’: Community remembers teen killed in drive-by shooting; push for change in neighborhood

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 10:44 PM EDT
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MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) - As the family of Loyalti Allah continues to mourn her senseless murder, the Icemorlee community in Monroe is coming together to push for change.

Loyalti, 13, was killed in a drive-by shooting Saturday night.

Four people -- Javon Robinson, Darius Roland, Jamari Crowder and Jamari McClain -- have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Police believe the four were looking for someone else to retaliate against.

“She was a light, sunshine, she was walking joy, had such a beautiful smile and sometimes I would say, you know with mask mandates, I’m like, ‘I love that smile but it’s got to be behind your mask, pull your mask up,’” said Jelissa Conway, a school counselor.

Loyalti was headed to her eighth-grade year at Monroe Middle School.

According to her mom, she loved to sing.

Her favorite colors were pink and blue.

“Funny, every kid loved her. She smiled, always in the hall. Everyone wanted to hug her and everyone wanted to be around her. She loved her family, that’s all she talked about,” said her sixth-grade science teacher, Tysheika Bordeaux.

Loyalti’s family and the Icemorlee community are dealing with her senseless murder.

“My heart dropped. My heart literally dropped thinking how her family could have felt knowing that I was raised here in Icemorlee,” said Teia Coleman.

Coleman grew up in the Icemorlee neighborhood.

As a former school guidance counselor, she always says she knew the four suspects. With news of what happened, she took Monday off from work.

“I had to because I know all of them personally. To know their lives will no longer be the same. It crushed me, it crushed me. To think I have a son who went to school with them, I have a son entering middle school,” Coleman said.

This community, now pushing for change.

“Definitely more community involvement, parental education and parental involvement. We have to come together as one. And be open minded, have to be just more diligent to change,” said Coleman.

It’s a partnership that Monroe Police Chief Bryan Gilliard says must happen.

“We can’t do it by ourselves. The community has got to step up and help us. For us to continuously have problems in that neighborhood, it’s going to take everybody. And so, my plea is for the community, we talk about coming together, now it’s time to act,” he said.

For Loyalti’s family, classmates, and friends, her murder has been hard to deal with.

“We have to get through the rest of this summer camp and the next school year without her, and that’s going to be difficult,” Conway added.

As of Monday night, a GoFundMe page has raised over $16,000 for her family.

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