MILWAUKEE - A grieving family is reminding us to hold our loved ones close as they plan a funeral for 8-year-old Tiana Huddleston, unintentionally shot and killed Saturday, Jan. 15 near 18th and Highland.
Huddleston leaves behind countless loved ones, including siblings who were present when she was shot. Those family members and friends gathered Tuesday, bringing balloons, flowers and stuffed animals to honor the girl lost so young.
"We shouldn’t be out here for my 8-year-old niece," said Latoya Singleton.
When planning to lay someone so young to rest, there’s really no rest to be found.
"Tiana, all I can say is to know her is to love her," said Singleton. "I can’t call it rest, y’all. I hear rest in peace, but she was at peace."
Instead of a 9th birthday party in February, the Milwaukee girl's family is planning her funeral.
"I can’t believe this is happening," said Marquita Traylor, mother.
Family says Huddleston's mother left to get insulin for another child. She was gone for a few minutes Saturday, but their world was changed for a lifetime.
"It can’t be fixed. What’s done is done," said Traylor.
"It came from a gun that her father was holding," said Singleton.
A 47-year-old man was arrested after Milwaukee police say he unintentionally discharged a gun.
"Gun, if you don’t know how to use it, don’t buy it," said Singleton. "If you have kids, get extra training."
When you don’t know where to turn, you come together.
"This is extremely hard," said Singleton. "This is extremely devastating. This is extremely heartbreaking."
"We work together as a family," said Norma Jones, grandmother.
Tiana had autism and was nonverbal but had no problems showing her love.
"That baby had a million kisses a day, and she gave them," said Singleton.
Family and friends gave that love right back at the vigil honoring the person Huddleston was.
"It’s so hard to speak in past tense," said Singleton. "Understand she was happy. She was healthy. She was loved. She still is loved."
Police at homicide scene near 18th and Highland
Huddleston was a Milwaukee Public Schools student at Clemens. A spokesman for the district said they’re offering support to students during this time.