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Remembering Markiya Dickson, third-grader shot and killed in Richmond park

Posted at 6:30 PM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 19:10:25-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- May 26 will mark one year since a 9-year-old girl was shot and killed in a Richmond park during a memorial day weekend cookout.

Markiya Dickson was playing in Carter Jones Park when shots rang out.

Police said that a group of men got into a fight and started shooting, and Markiya, who was in the third grade, was hit by a stray bullet.

An 11-year-old boy, Jaquez Evans-Moses, was also shot in the incident and survived.

Jermaine Davis, 21, and Quinshawn Betts, 18, both of Richmond, were arrested and charged with murder, two counts of malicious wounding, and three counts of the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

In March 2020, a judge found Betts guilty of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and firearm charges in the death of Markiya Dickson and wounding of Jaquez Evans-Moses.

"I ran through the bullets and found my baby lying on the ground bleeding," Dickson's father Mark Whitfield said. "That was my world. My everything."

"My baby didn't even get to make it to see 10," Whitfield said. "Everything stopped for me that day, my life is totally different, fun ain't fun for me anymore."

In response to the shooting, Richmond City Council approved an ordinance to ban guns in public parks and city-owned buildings. But Virginia law allows guns there, so the measure is just symbolic.

Whitfield remains skeptical about other efforts for stricter gun laws.

"They won't work. I know they won't work for a fact. I live in the streets, I'm in the streets," he said. "When I was 16 I had a gun. I didn't go to the store and fill out no paper for it. Go out on the street, a couple of hundred dollars, you got a gun."

Betts could face more than 40 years in prison at an August sentencing.