JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A grieving mother is begging for people to speak up after her daughter was murdered a few weeks ago.
Tayda Smith, 28, was shot and killed early in the morning on May 1 at a Raceway gas station on Lem Turner Road. Her family says she was just a bystander during a drive-by.
The gas pump where she was — No. 9 — and nearby areas were left riddled with bullets.
MAD DADS, an anti-crime group organized by Donald Foy in 2003, led dozens of people in canvassing the area Saturday, speaking with people to see if they have any information that can lead to who killed Smith.
City leaders and Smith’s family members joined in the walk to look for answers themselves.
“Y’all took my baby and (took) her away from her babies. So now they have to grow up without their mom,” said Tanika Byrd, Smith’s mother. “So if you know something, say something.”
“She was a very sweet person, humble person, loving person,” Byrd said. “She touched lives.”
Supporters carried a large picture of Smith through the area Saturday, reminding those they spoke with of the face of the person gunned down.
“We can’t expect JSO to do something when they were not there. They were not here. They need our help,” Foy said. “Until the community steps up and do what they are supposed to do, which is breaking the code of silence and telling what they know, these individuals are going to continue to do what they’re doing.”
Byrd says tragedy found her family again, but she’s leaning on her faith to make it through.
“I lost a son a year and a half ago and now I lost her, so it’s just but God,” Byrd said.
Councilman Al Ferraro and other leaders joined dozens of family and friends around the neighborhood.
He said the community can work together to achieve justice.
“We can work with the police and get them off the streets for good,” Ferraro said. “These problem people are a group that are constantly controlling parts of our city and we have to get them out of it.”
Byrd has a simple message.
“If you know something, say something,” she said. “No one ever speaks until it’s there. When it’s them or their family, then they want to speak, or they want everybody to say something.”
No arrests have been announced as the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office continues to identify suspects. If you know anything, you can call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS and remain anonymous.
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