Peace Garden dedicated to Laylah Peterson

Girl killed by stray bullet last November
Posted at 10:47 PM, Sep 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-17 01:37:24-04

A peace garden was dedicated Friday in the memory of Laylah Petersen, a 5-year-old girl killed by a stray bullet while sitting on her grandfather's lap last November. 

"It was just a horrendous act of violence, I'm a grandfather. The notion that one of my grandkids could have been murdered sitting on my lap it just hit me hard and stayed with me," said Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn.

Several children around Laylah’s age sang songs to remember their former classmate at Friday’s dedication.

The girl was in the home at 58th Street and Fairmount Avenue when police say someone targeted the wrong house.

Officers who responded to the murder that night also came out to the garden dedication. They were joined by family and friends of the little girl.

"She was a kind person, she always helped whenever she could," said Savannah Kimbrough, 9, a former classmate and friend of Laylah's.

But the message Friday was about moving forward from violence and honoring a little girl.

"When you think of butterflies and you think of colors and you think of flowers, that really is what Laylah was about, because she was very colorful and warmhearted," said Michelle Paris,  the principal of Northwest Catholic School.

The peace garden was filled with colorful flowers in honor of Laylah. It will bloom in the spring and attract birds and butterflies.

In the meantime Petersen's classmates planted pinwheels to dedicate the garden.

"This is how peace spreads by reflecting and refocusing," Paris said.

Three men have been charged in connection with Laylah’s death.