Prayers for peace at vigil in honor of Jania Tatum, 15, found shot dead at Tejas Park in Baytown


BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) – More than 50 people prayed for peace and demanded justice as they gathered in a Baytown park to honor the life of a 15-year-old girl whose body was found there last week with gunshot wounds.

SEE MORE: 15-year-old athlete was shot and killed in Baytown Park

Baytown Police told ABC13 they don’t know who killed Jania Tatum, but are actively investigating and determined to find out who shot the teenager twice and left her to die.

“We not only pray for peace, God, but we also pray for justice,” said JJ Williams, pastor of Unity Baptist Church. “Bring righteousness now, so that his life will not be in vain.”

Williams was one of dozens at Tejas Park for whom the New Year begins with a solemn prayer for the soul of a young woman whose death raises unanswered questions.

“Jania was a very, very outgoing and loving person,” said Michael Hopson, a friend of the family. “I hope the detectives and everyone else on the case make sure they do their job and get justice for her.”

Jania was a student at Sterling High School. She was an academic letter recipient and dreamed of joining the Navy to serve and study nursing, but died of two gunshot wounds.

The police, who had officers guarding the vigil, are still looking for Jania’s killer, and those answers can’t come fast enough for the young woman’s family and friends. They said they had a hard time understanding how someone so kind and up-and-coming could have left.

“I’m sick of despising our loved ones when we could look at them like I’m looking at you,” cousin Janell Wilson told Jania’s mother, Angie Tatum, at the wake.

Several friends and family members shared heartfelt and touching tributes. The vigil ended with a release of balloons before sunset.

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