Family mourns a young life taken too soon

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – The family of 16-year-old Zahira Smith is still coming to terms with her death just days after she was shot and killed while attending a birthday party Saturday night.

News10NBC has more from the family mourning a young life taken far too soon.

What was supposed to be a night of fun turned tragic after shots were fired at the home where the party was taking place killing Smith, and wounding another teen.

"Who would ever thought this would happen at a 16-year-old’s party? You know I never thought that guns would be involved at a party of this age," said Ann Smith, Zahira’s grandmother.

It’s a question that Smith has had on her mind since her granddaughter Zahira was fatally shot while attending a birthday party, at a home on Emerson Street.

"I’m broken. I’m hurt. I’m angry," said Allie Forest, Zahira’s mother as she shared some of her feelings.

Ciasia Alvez, Zahira’s older sister tells us this was the first teen party she attended on her own.

"Like my sister don’t go nowhere," said Alvez. She continued, "My sister can’t go nowhere. She’s just a sweetheart like a child who, oh I need to go to work. I need to go to work. I need to make this money. I need to do this. I need to do that."

Police tell us the shooting happened around 10 Saturday night. Shots were fired from a lot across the street from the home. Smith and an unidentified 18-year-old female were both hit. Police also tell us they were not the intended target.

Smith’s family says the house was rented for the party, but also says there were no chaperones at the party.

"You know they couldn’t get that on their own. There had to be an adult involved in order to make that happen for that party," said her grandmother.

In fact, Smith believes the rental home wasn’t even equipped with cameras.

"There was nothing that I felt had my granddaughter to be safe in that environment, and for them to, things to turn out the way that they was, I think that she could’ve been more safe even attending this party," said Smith.

The Smith family is hoping someone will come forward with information that could help lead to an arrest.

"Let me know like what truly happened, and tell who did it, cause they know who did it, but they just worried about snitching, and it’s not snitching. It’s being a witness. You witness something. It could’ve been you," said Forest.

Rochester police tell us no one has been arrested yet for the shooting. RPD has one person in custody on weapons charges. They tell us Emeer Andrews was also at the party, and say the 18-year-old returned fire after the two girls were shot.