COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Lovely Kendricks’ parents remember her as a cheerleader, as a Chinese language pupil, and as a “ball of fun.”
Now, they’re trying to reconcile their memory of their daughter with the images of her death.
Kendricks, 15, was fatally shot in Franklin Park Monday afternoon. She was transported in critical condition to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where she died.
Kendricks was a 10th-grade cheerleader at East High School who loved sports. Last week, the school celebrated its 100th anniversary at its current building, and Doris Moore said her daughter took part in many of the festivities.
“Lovely was funny,” Moore said. “She loved to laugh.”
“I just want the world to know that we need justice,” said Clarence Roberts, Kendricks’ father. “My daughter was so ambitious, over the top.”
The Columbus Division of Police said Kendricks was with a group of girls in the park when a fight broke out. Police have not said whether she was involved in the fight, but at least one gunshot was fired — hitting Kendricks.
Kendricks turned 15 in July and had taken Chinese since she was a young child.
“She was amazing,” Moore said. “She was ahead of her time.”
Moore said her daughter had recently tried making dumplings on her own for a project.
“She did, I watched her,” Moore said. “I didn’t help her. I just guided her.”
At the sound of gunshots, Mysty Pedersen, who lives across from Franklin Park, ran to her front door and saw Kendricks lying in the grass. Almost immediately, she said she ran over to deliver first aid until paramedics arrived.
“So I said, ‘where’s her wound guys? We have to apply pressure,'” Pedersen said. “Her friend or sister told me, ‘Right here,’ we lifted up her head, I took off my sweater, we applied pressure, and I just held her head and kept her wrist, to make sure her pulse stayed.”
Pedersen said she felt compelled to help Kendricks because as a mother of a 15-year-old herself, she didn’t want to see a child left injured and alone. She said she was heartbroken to hear that Kendricks died.
“That little girl wanted to be here,” Pedersen said. “You know, just her breath, and the motion of her chest going up and down. She was a fighter.”
As for the person responsible for shooting Kendricks, Roberts has a very specific plea.
“Go ahead and turn yourself in because I know you couldn’t have meant to kill that baby,” he said. “Turn yourself in and live with that.”
Columbus City Schools confirmed Tuesday that Kendricks was a student at East High School. In a statement, CCS Superintendent Talisa Dixon said it was important for the community to support each other through the grieving process.
“As I write this, I am reminded of how many times I have written something similar,” Dixon said. “It both saddens and angers me. When will it stop? What can we do to keep our children safe?”
The family is planning a vigil Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Franklin Park.
“She was like a light,” Moore said of her daughter. “She was a ball of fun.”