Quinyaetta Winfield, 8, said that if her friend, 6-year-old Tiffany Smith, were alive today, she would tell her the one thing left unsaid during their friendship -- "I love you."
Quinyaetta expressed sorrow that she and Tiffany can no longer sing their favorite songs and play with their dolls. She said she wanted to chat, joke and laugh with her friend just once more.
Quinyaetta was standing behind the screen door at her home in the 1800 block of N. Rosedale St. She wore a long white T-shirt, shorts and black summer shoes. Less than an hour earlier yesterday, in more formal attire, she and more than 100 other friends and family members had attended Tiffany's funeral at the White Stone Baptist Church on Baker Street, a block away.
During the service, Tiffany was remembered as a heroine whose death was a reminder that violence and drugs cannot be allowed to destroy Baltimore's communities.
Tiffany was gunned down last Tuesday as she played in front of Quinyaetta's house in the 1800 block of N. Rosedale St. She was fatally shot in the head during a shoot-out between two men.
Police have charged Guy Bernard Wilson, 20, of Severna Park, with first-degree murder in Tiffany's death. He is being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
A second man remains at large.
Yesterday at the front of White Stone Baptist, pink and white flower arrangements, some shaped as hearts, surrounded the small white casket that contained Tiffany's body. She would have been 7 on July 31.
Tiffany's funeral drew representatives of community groups and elected officials, all of whom expressed the need to end the street violence that led to her death.
"We have to find strength within ourselves to make sure her death has not been in vain," said Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-7th.
Mfume said blacks must stop killing each other and promote social progress instead.
Phillip Brown, a representative from the governor's office, said Tiffany "left here to make it better for the youth that are here today."
Mayor Kurt Schmoke, the City Council and the General Assembly sent their condolences.
Looking over the hundreds of mourners, the Rev. Willie Ray urged them to unite to fight the violence that plagues the city.
"The violence must stop," said Ray, founder of Save Another Youth and an organizer of Stop the Killing Coalition, two crime-fighting groups. "We don't have to be hostages and prisoners in our own homes. We can't let a handful of hoodlums take over our city."
Ray is organizing a candlelight prayer vigil in memory of Tiffany and other victims of violence from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at North Avenue and Rosedale Street.
On July 28, he plans to organize a human chain along North Avenue, the crossroads of many drug-infested neighborhoods, to protest the city's murder rate.
After the funeral, a 76-year-old man leaned on his car in the 3000 block of Brighton St., a block from the church, and shook his head as he watched the funeral procession. He said the neighborhood would be safer if there were foot patrol officers assigned to fight the crime that often goes unnoticed in alleys and backstreets until someone is murdered.
"Everytime you see a policeman, he's just passing through," the man said. "When you do that, you can't see what's going on."