MIAMI GARDENS — Family and friends of Keimouria Reshai Gardner gathered to greet and eat while they shared their love for her at a banquet dinner a few hours after her burial. Keimouria, 17, was shot by a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting March 19 while she sat on a bench in Soar Park in Miami-Dade. She died two days later.
Keimouria was laid to rest April 5, after a church service at Myrtle Grove Presbyterian in Miami Gardens, which overflowed with more than 400 people who came to pay their respects. In attendance were family members from Jamaica and Atlanta who shared their special moments with Keimouria, as well as Jose Bueno, principal of Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High, where Keimouria attended school.
At the dinner with about 220 family members, several T-shirts displayed Keimouria’s smiling face and dimples. The conversations centered around how blessed they were to be able to have known the teenager, how beautiful she was and how much she will be missed.
“We are blessed to be gathered here today and it’s all for her; we won’t let her death go in vain,” said Jeffery Marion, Keimouria’s uncle.
Keimouria received her looks and talents from her mother, many family members said.
“Her dimples always got you; she always smiled when she sang, the dimples came out and she got that from her mother,” said Paul Roberts, Keimouria’s mother Skymeter Roberts’ uncle.
“She got everything from her mother, so it was like I was looking at [Skymeter] at the same time,” said Regina Gardner, Keimouria’s stepmother.
Best friends from elementary school came to show their support. The death of their friend wounded them but the thought of Keimouria knowing they were sad has kept them strong.
“She always lifted us up when we were down; Keimouria wouldn’t like us sad,” said Arnesha Bryant.
“She was so nice, loveable, and playful; she stayed making us laugh,” said Dominique Dixon.
Keimouria’s mother, Skymeter Roberts and father Keiyatta Gardner broke down for a moment at the banquet dinner, but lifted their heads up when Regina Gardner told attendees how Keimouria’s death saved six lives. Eight of Keimouria’s organs were donated to six recipients.
“She did not die in vain; her heart was so strong; she was so strong that she saved people when she died,” said Regina Gardner.
Keiyatta Gardner and Skymeter Roberts were quiet throughout the dinner but managed to say a few words.
“That was my baby,” said Keiyatta Gardner, his eyes filled with tears, covering his face.
“She was so innocent, she loved everyone,” said Skymeter Roberts.
The Miami-Dade Police Department, Crime Stoppers, and the NAACP along with Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez are asking the community for help with the investigation into the shooting that caused the death of Keimouria and Herchel Belizaire and injured Willie Williamson. They are offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who knows anything about the incident.