Tree planted in honor of slain 3-year-old girl
By Gary Popp
Published in News on April 7, 2011 1:46 PM
Renada McLamb places flowers next to a cherry blossom tree that was planted in memory of her daughter Princess King on the spot where the 3-year-old was shot and killed in The Grand at Day Circle Apartments.
The loved ones of Princess Shelby Diamond King gathered under the warm glow of a setting sun Wednesday evening to plant a tree at the spot where the 3-year-old was fatally shot Feb. 27.
Princess was killed by a stray bullet as she played at a small playground in the housing community The Grand at Day Point.
Music was played, prayers were shared and tears were shed as more than 100 of those closest to Princess formed a large ring around the newly planted cherry blossom tree where playground equipment recently stood.
Nearly everyone in attendance grasped the stem of a pink carnation. The flowers were distributed early in the service.
At the memorial, Princess' mother, Renada McLamb, wore a T-shirt adorned with her daughter's photograph and nickname "Poot."
"It feels real, real good," Ms. McLamb said. "I didn't know what to expect. It is real nice."
Pastor Corey Pigford spoke of the positive changes that can come from Princess' tragic loss.
"I hope it changes somebody's life," Ms. McLamb said. "She touched a lot of souls."
Pigford said the death has brought some of the community at The Grand together.
"I hope they stay unified to make positive change," Pigford said. "This could be a life- changing experience and help the community get a new understanding to come together for a positive result."
Derrick Faison donated the bricks and rocks that were put around the tree.
He stood in dusty pants with a shovel he used to move dirt to plant the tree.
Faison works maintenance at The Grand, and he has known Princess' family for more than 15 years though their church.
He said he wants the memorial to set a standard in the community.
"We hope this makes a statement that this type violence needs to stop," Faison said.
As he talked, he looked over the open courtyard as groups of people from the nearby housing units walked to the memorial.
"We lost her, but heaven gained an angel," Faison said.
Princess' aunt Chiwanda McLamb said those who showed up to the memorial were there to show their support for the family.
"This is everybody that loved Poot. This is beautiful right here. They are keeping her alive," Chiwanda McLamb said.
She added that it was unfortunate that it took such a tragedy to get everyone together.
The tree was planted near a collection of items that have served as Princess' memorial since her death. Nestled in the dirt, several feet from the tree a small plastic fence held together plastic flowers, a stuffed animal and balloons, now deflated, all left for Princess.
The community now has the tree to remember the little girl.
"We have got to realize this will all have been in vain if we go back to the way we were living," Pigford said. "Today is a new day."