DALLAS - Funeral services were held Friday for the 9-year-old Dallas girl who was killed by a stray bullet after an argument between two rappers over “diss tracks” resulted in the shooting.
Friends, family, and members of the Oak Cliff community remembered Brandoniya Bennett. They gathered to offer their final goodbyes.
People who spoke at the funeral mentioned the rise in gun violence that has many in Dallas worried.
The primary purpose of Friday's gathering was to celebrate Bennett’s short life, but her funeral turned into a call for action from the mayor and people who live the community to come together and stop the violence plaguing city streets.
Wearing sunglasses to conceal her pain, Bennett’s mother made the walk no mother should ever have to make, as she kneeled in front of her daughter's casket. She was a victim of ongoing gun violence in the city of Dallas.
Bennett was shot and killed while playing inside her family's Old East Dallas apartment. She was the unintended victim of a dispute between two men.
Police say a 19-year-old suspected gang member and aspiring rapper was in a feud with another rapper when he fired his gun.
Among the many senseless crimes this summer, her murder stands out. Even the officers who worked the crime scene that night joined other mourners packed into the tiny chapel.
Bennett's aunt even thanked one officer who tried to save the little girl's life.
The church pastor, Maxie Johnson, who is also a Dallas ISD trustee, lost his own 22-year-old son to gun violence the very same day of Bennett's death.
Johnson buried his son Thursday.
“We’re going to stand up in this community and we’re going to fight against this senseless gun violence,” Johnson said to those who gather for the services.
His words were echoed by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.
Earlier this week, Johnson announced a task force to address the city's spike in violent crime. There was a record 40 murders in the month of May alone.
“No more little boys and little girls being snuffed out by activity going on within our own community. It ends today,” Mayor Johnson said.
DPD Deputy Chief Thomas Castro said officers are doing the best they can given their limited resources, even with state support from DPS troopers.
“We hope that today is a reflection to our community that we are here, we do care, and we do want to work together,” Castro said.
Those at the funeral witnessed the family's pain, ready to do the work.
“When I leave the house at night, I don’t feel safe, so I leave with a gun at night,” said Serrail Patrick, who is a family friend of the Bennetts. “This baby didn’t deserve this. She was innocent. We need to stop the violence.”
Bennett's accused killer, Tyrese Simmons, remains in the Dallas County Jail on a charge of capital murder.
The mayor's violent crime task force will make recommendations to the council by the end of the year.