1 month after her death, 13-year-old Sandra Parks' family gears up for a tough, painful Christmas

MILWAUKEE -- A vigil and balloon release ceremony were held Wednesday night, Dec. 19 -- the one-month anniversary of the shooting death of 13-year-old Sandra Parks, who was struck by a bullet and killed in her home near 13th and Hopkins on Nov. 19.

Family members said they were gearing up for a painful Christmas. They shared special memories during the ceremony held to mark the one-month anniversary of Parks' death.

The bright girl with a promising future wrote about guns, crime and heartache in a city-wide Martin Luther King Jr. Day essay contest two years ago, writing, in part, "little children are victims of senseless gun violence" and "we must not allow the lies of violence, racism and prejudice to be our truth."

Isaac Barnes, Sandra Parks, Untrell Oden

Prosecutors said 26-year-old Isaac Barnes was the shooter in the case, and 27-year-old Untrell Oden helped Barnes hide his guns. Both have pleaded not guilty.

A GoFundMe.com account was launched after Parks' death to help the family with funeral costs, and more than $30,000 was raised.

Parks' funeral was held on Dec. 1.