CLEVELAND -- A somber Valentine’s Day prayer vigil was held Thursday night for Valetta “Lala” Martin.
Dozens of brokenhearted family members and friends gathered near her townhome apartment in the 9300 block of Amesbury Avenue in Cleveland to remember Valetta and pressure witnesses to come forward.
“If you know, speak out,” said Terri West. “Don’t be afraid. You don’t have to leave your name. You can be anonymous.”
Valetta was an innocent bystander who was shot in the chest by crossfire from a gunfight between two men she had nothing to do with.
Frantic neighbors called 911 in vain hoping for help.
"We have a woman over here shot, might be dead. Amesbury Complex. I need the police! Please, now. Hurry up!” a 911 caller said.
“I’m not understanding it at all,” said Gayle Martin, Valetta’s mother.
With tear-stained faces, the group gathered for the vigil and wondered how she could be killed at home in such a violent manner.
“I mean, she was at home. It makes no sense that it happened," said Devonna Bey, Valetta’s sister.
Valetta leaves behind five children and four grandchildren but she also touched many other lives.
Friends said she was a prayerful soul with a big heart who would always help others.
“This means so much. I know my sister was very loved and touched so many hearts of others and this right here shows it,” said Devonna Bey.
Sadly, Valetta had just celebrated her 45th birthday on Tuesday and was looking forward to a party this weekend.
But instead, her mother, who drove to Cleveland from Warren for the vigil, was forced to say goodbye to her oldest child.
“I had to be here. I can feel her still being on this earth, and I wanted to say goodbye to her before she left,” said Gayle Martin.
The family hopes that the shooters are caught, and that something is done to stop the violence in the city, so that no other families have to experience the same pain.
They say enough is enough.
“We gotta pull together to stop it,” said Devonna Bey. “It’s stupid for no reason.”