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‘That was her gift’: Family of murdered 15-year-old makeup artist, business owner Ja’Nyi Weeden pleads for witnesses to come forward

Posted at 9:27 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 23:50:45-04

BALTIMORE — A light who shined in any room.

It’s how the family described Ja’Nyi Weeden, 15.

They said she was a positive person and always kept a smile on her face.

“She brightened everyone’s life. She brightened up all of our lives,” said Chanel Autry, Weeden’s cousin.

The 15-year-old, who they called “Nyi”, also had big dreams. She did hair and also had her own makeup business.

Ja’Nyi had plans to one day open her own shop.

“That was her gift. That was her talent. That was her craft,” Autry said.

Weeden attended Carver Vocational-Technical High School in Baltimore where she was set to start her sophomore year.

The teen had a bright future until her life was cut short when was shot and killed last week in Southwest Baltimore.

“It is extremely painful. It is extremely heartbreaking. It has completely shattered our family,” Autry said.

"We planning a funeral. A funeral at 15,” said Joshua Autry, Weeden’s cousin. “I need everybody to think about all the things that you robbed my baby of...She was robbed of her life.”

The shooting happened in an alley in the 3700 block of Gelston Drive around 12:57 in the morning.

Neighbors said there was argument leading up the shooting and police tell us around 15 people were in the area at the time. When officers got to the scene, all of them were gone.

“For that many people to be there and nobody even called the paramedics or called the police, that’s the most disturbing part,” Joshua said.

The family is pleading for anyone who saw what happened to come forward.

“Justice needs to be served for not just my little cousin, not just my niece, but for all these children who losing their lives at a such a rapid rate,” Autry said. It’s so many children out here that our losing their lives at young ages and it is sad and it is heartbreaking.”

This isn’t the first time gun violence has claimed the life of someone in this family. Weeden’s father was shot and killed in an alley in Baltimore ten years ago.

The family said his killer was arrested and they’re hoping the same will happen in this case.

If you have any information about what happened to Ja’Nyi, you’re asked to call (410) 396-2100. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous is urged to call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7lockup.