Family holds vigil for victim of quadruple shooting

The shooting left 3 people dead and a 7-year-old in critical condition

ST. LOUIS - There are still no arrests in yesterday's quadruple shooting in North St. Louis, which left 3 dead, and a seven-year-old girl critically injured. It happened in the Walnut East neighborhood in the middle of the afternoon. Police are asking anyone with information to come forward.

Family and friends are left heartbroken. They gathered to memorialize the victims and pray for the 7-year-old still in critical condition.

A sea of purple balloons, candles and flowers decorated the lawn of Koeneman Park in Jennings.

"She literally grew to be like my sister," said one of Jessica Garth’s closest friends, Brianna Haley.

The group gathered in honor of 24-year-old Garth, one of the victims shot along the 4900 block of Beacon Wednesday afternoon. Garth’s boyfriend, Derrick Irving, was also killed along with another man who has not yet been identified. Garth’s 7-year-old daughter remains in critical condition. Her 5-year-old survived, but is now without parents.

"She was a great mom - did anything for anybody," said Garth’s younger sister, Cassidy Garth. She says her sister took care of her.

"She would tell you I was her oldest daughter."

One of Jessica’s closest friends, Brianna Haley, was also among several dozen people paying her respects.

"When I remember Jessica, I'll always remember her as her kids never needed or wanted for anything," she said.

Haley’s 7-year-old daughter, Abriya Haley, and Garth’s 7-year-old shared a similarly close friendship.

“We did mostly everything together,” Abriya said. “And I don’t know why anyone would do this to her, she's just a child."

Haley says it’s excruciating having to explain Wednesday’s carnage to her daughter.

"As a parent, you're not prepared to explain something like that to a child....and you shouldn’t have to,” she said.

Those who remember Jessica well fondly remember her and prayer for her two daughters, one of whom still fights for her life.

“She was a great mom - did anything for anybody," her sister said.

Garth’s closest friends and school community are working to create a Go-Fund-Me page to help pay for her daughter’s medical expenses.

Police said the gunfire was reported around 4 p.m. Thursday from the area of Beacon and Lillian avenues in the Walnut Park East neighborhood.

It’s an area that neighbors said has seen its fair share of violent crime.

“It’s a lot of gunshots that you hear periodically,” said Sherman Tomlin.

But this time, officers working the case said it was especially difficult because one of the victims is a 7-year-old girl shot in the head.

“It’s horrific. We’re all veteran policeman. It’s the worst,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Leyshock of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept.

At the time of the shootings, the girl was with three other adults, police said.

A woman who has been identified as Jessica Garth, 24, of Webster Groves, was transported to the hospital where she later died. Two men were pronounced dead at the scene. One of the men has been identified as 27-year-old Derrick Irving. 

Leyshock said one of the men was found inside a car and the other was found outside the car. One dark colored sedan was towed away with visible front end damage.

A light colored sedan remained on scene with visible back end damage.

Other than the vehicles, he said investigators have very little information to work with.

“We have two vehicles involved. We’re combing this for every little piece of evidence we can find,” Leyshock said.

He urged anyone in the community to come forward if they have information.

“I want to solve this. We have families at stake. We have neighborhood residents. It’s way too dangerous,” Leyshock said.

At last check, the girl and woman were listed in critical, but unstable condition.

The family wants answers after learning two family members were victims of Thursday's quadruple shooting in North St. Louis. Venita Griffin's grandson is dead and her great granddaughter is in critical condition. The seven-year-old girl was shot in the head.

Griffin says the young girl isn't doing so great and says things at home, leading up to the shooting, weren't so great, either. Griffin says the girl's father, 27-year-old Derrick Irving, sometimes hung out with the wrong crowd.

Irving is Griffin's grandson. Griffin says, at the time of the shooting, Irving was in a car with his girlfriend, Jessica Garth, who was 24 years old. The seven-year-old was also in the car. Her five-year-old sister, who was not injured, was too.

Police haven't made any arrests. Now, Griffin is asking anyone with information to come forward.

"Would you please just even be anonymous and tell if you know something," Griffin said.

At a press conference Friday, Mayor Lyda Krewson shared a similar plea.

"We do need the public's help" Krewson said. "This happened in the middle of the afternoon. Surely someone saw something and we need them to come forward and help us solve this crime and others."

Krewson also said, in an attempt to make arrests, police are putting as many officers as possible in crime-ridden areas.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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