Woman injured, toddler killed in Dallas drive-by shooting Sunday night

Zyah Lacy, 2, was shot and killed at a family gathering, according to her grandmother.

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Dallas police are investigating a shooting that left a child dead and a woman critically injured on Sunday night. Family members of the child said they were attending a family gathering for a relative who was killed earlier this year.

Sunday's shooting happened around 9:30 p.m. on the 4700 block of Hay Street in the East Dallas neighborhood of Jubilee, north of Fair Park, according to Dallas Police.

"We heard gunshots, everybody started to run, I grabbed my grand baby. When I started running I got behind the truck, I felt some blood and when I found the blood, I hollered, 'My baby is shot," cried Debra Harper Smith, the step grandmother of the child.

The maternal grandmother, Lisa Smith, and paternal grandmother, Tomeka Staten, of 2-year-old Zyah Lacy sat alongside side Smith at New Millennium Bible Fellowship Praise Center with their pastors as they reflected on what happened and the child's life.

"She hadn't even lived a full life yet. This was a very smart two-year-old, my baby knew her ABCs, she knew how to count, she knew her name," said Harper Smith.

The family said the little girl had a supportive upbringing with her mother, father, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. They are in disbelief about what has occurred.

Family photo

“I just want them to be brought to justice, somebody somewhere out there knows something, we are hurting. Her name is Zyah, it means ray of light and she was a ray of light to our family," said Lisa Smith about her grand child who she said was reading to her baby brother too.

Pastor J. Lee Slater of New Millennium Bible Fellowship Praise Center said the 2-year-old was at church service on Sunday.

"I can remember my wife was carrying her this Sunday morning, that baby walked around and put her tithe in, not knowing it was going to be her last tithing. What I would say to the family, cherish those memories you can and rest assure that her life was not in vein and her death was not in vein,  So be encouraged and know that God has got your back and knows what is going on and what’s happening," said Slater.

Officers responded to an officer assist call and arrived to find a huge crowd on Hay St.

Witnesses said the crowd had gathered for a party or event of some kind. Dallas Police believe later on during the gathering, someone drove by and opened fire.

Harper Smith said they were there remembering her cousin who was shot and killed earlier this year in Forney.

"Romika Simpson, died at the beginning of this year. They did a drive by of her house and shot her in her head when she was asleep in Forney," cried Harper Smith. "Bad enough my cousin lost her life behind stupid stuff behind something that had nothing to do with her, and my grand baby lost her life behind something that had nothing to do with her."

She said they had a balloon release on Sunday in honor of Simpson's birthday. As they were taking pictures, that's when someone drove up and started shooting, according to Harper Smith who thought initially it was fireworks.

"We all taking pictures, when we heard the gunshots. Everybody started running trying to coverup ,a soon as I took off running, I grabbed her, I didn’t even know my baby was shot, I couldn't do nothing but scream cry and pray and ask God please just protect her," said Harper Smith whose son drove them to the hospital.

She said they were there with the child's mother as well, who was not injured.

Police said the preliminary investigation determined a woman and and initially reported as a one-year-old child had been shot during the drive-by shooting. The family of the child stated the correct age of the as 2-years-old.

Dallas PD said in a statement that the woman and child were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Shortly after 7 a.m., police announced that the child died in the hospital. The woman was last listed in critical but stable condition. Harper Smith said the woman is a friend of the family and not related to the child.

"What officers are doing is they are looking at violent crimes that happened in that area, seeing if it's connected. The one thing that they have determined is the shooting itself was not random, but the woman and child hit were not the intended targets," said Kristin Lowman, a spokesperson for DPD.

Police haven't confirmed any arrests or whether the shooter has been found.

"They're cowards, I just want them brought to justice because that's not right, this was a two year old," said Harper Smith. “She did nothing bad, she innocent, she had a whole life ahead of her that was taken behind senseless, behind people being cowards, if you want to do something to somebody, you do it them, you don’t shoot up an innocent crowd and hit innocent people, that’s not right."

The family said they are pleading with the community for answers.

“A piece of us has been taken, someone out there saw something, we’re pleading today, if it was your two-year-old grand daughter, daughter, niece or cousin, how would you feel? If you saw something, do something say something," said Staten. "That murder is out there that has taken a part of us that will never be forgotten , so we’re asking for the community to rally behind us.”

A candlelight vigil is planned for Thursday, with funeral services planned for Friday.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Guy Curtis at 214-671-3633 or guy.curtis@dallaspolice.gov

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