MILWAUKEE — The family of a young girl shot and killed over the weekend gathered Tuesday to remember and celebrate her life.
Eight-year-old Tiana Huddleston lived near 18th and Highland with her siblings and parents. Family members tell TMJ4 News that Tiana was your typical child who loved playing and was excited for her upcoming birthday.
The vigil began at 4:30 p.m. People talked about the impact Tiana had on their lives, as well as happy memories.
Milwaukee Police believe that a 47-year-old Milwaukee man was handling a firearm when it was discharged, striking and eventually killing Tiana at the home on Saturday.
The family said the 47-year-old man taken into custody is Tiana's dad.
Tiana's family said she was nonverbal, but she was also the leader of the pack with a bright personality and future.
Her aunt LaToya says the past several days have been difficult knowing that she will never get to see her niece grow up.
"Tiana, all I can say is to know her is to love her," LaToya Singleton said. "Seriously this baby has a heart of gold...She had a million kisses and she gave em. How your grandmother outlive your niece, though? How your oldest people still here and my baby niece is sitting in a freaking freezer somewhere. Yeah, lets talk about it."
Tiana's mother, Marquita, is having a difficult time trying to make sense of the harsh reality.
CANDLELIGHT VIGIL: Family and friends are starting to arrive to the home where 8-year-old girl Tiana Huddleston was shot at.— Ubah Ali (@UbahDAli) January 18, 2022
- Police say, a 47-year-old man was handling a firearm when it was discharged.
Family members say it was Huddleston’s father who accidentally shot her. pic.twitter.com/1ZJmWQjWHA
"My sister hasn't slept right," Singleton said. "She wake up out (of) her sleep, screaming for her baby."
"She was sweet," Marquita Traylor said. "She was kind-hearted. She was very smart... I don't know how to live without my baby. Ain't no apologies gonna do it."
According to the Medical Examiner's Office, there have been three child homicides this year so far.
"If you don't know how to use it (a gun), don't buy it," Singleton said. "If you have kids, use extra training on it."
The family says they plan to cremate Tiana so she can be with them at home like she always was.
"The fact of the matter is, she gone. She (is) gone," Singleton said. "Taking her, it took our heart out. We haven't slept. We need a lot of help to be honest."
According to the Milwaukee Police Department's Homicide Review Commission, there were 27 children killed in 2020 and in 2021 there were 21. A deeper look at those statistics show that 80% of the children killed last year were killed by a gun.
Gun locks are free for all Milwaukee residents. If you need one contact the Office of Violence Prevention.
The family is asking for prayers and privacy as they live in the world without their shining star.