Hundreds gathered around a small casket surrounded by pink and purple flowers on Friday evening to honor and remember 9-year-old Janessa Ramirez, killed by an errant bullet nearly a week ago.
“She looks absolutely beautiful,” said extended family member Margaret Gaeta after looking at Janessa.
There were 200 people inside Cornerstone Church for the viewing shortly after it started at 5 p.m. Soft music played in the renovated theater as family, friends and community members exchanged hugs and tears.
A public memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the church located at 1545 Fulton St. in downtown Fresno.
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Fresno police are still searching for suspects in Janessa’s killing and are asking for more tips from the public. On Friday afternoon, Lt. Mark Salazar said detectives are “still working around the clock” on the case. A reward of $22,500 is available for information leading to an arrest.
Janessa was killed Sunday, caught in the crossfire of what appears to have been a gang dispute in the area of Clinton and Marks avenues, west of Highway 99. Police say Janessa was standing in front of a laundromat with her mother when she was struck by a stray round fired from several hundred yards away.
“It’s sad that violence runs our city the way that it does,” Gaeta said at Friday’s viewing. “People just really don’t pay attention or realize what’s going on in their area until an innocent gets hurt. And now they’ve taken the life of an innocent, a child. Now it’s time to take our town back — we have to. We have to care.”