Family, friends and community members are gathering Wednesday to mourn the 11-year-old girl killed in a stray bullet shooting in broad daylight earlier this week as they demand an end to the surging gun violence plaguing the city.
Kyhara Tay was with family members when she was shot in the stomach while on Westchester Avenue in Longwood Monday evening. She died at Lincoln Hospital. Law enforcement sources say two men on a moped opened fire by a nearby street corner.
The girl wasn't the intended target, they say. No one else was wounded.
Kyhara's parents were inconsolable the night before as they visited the memorial that has taken over the street where she was shot. Balloons soared through the air as loved ones tried to say goodbye to the little girl they knew fondly as KyKy.
"I'm sad and I miss her a lot and I can't believe she's dead. It hurts," said friend Kaylany Alvarez, who said she knew Kyhara since preschool. "She would come over sometimes and we would be together and I woke up today and I found out that she got shot. I really miss her and I hope she's doing OK in heaven."
On Wednesday, a crowd gathered for a rally in the Bronx in the girl's memory and to support her family, saying they are tired of living in fear of the violence in the streets, and angry those responsible are still being sought.
"These kids are doing wild, wild west out here," Longview resident Luis Torres said, adding "this is the worst tragedy I have seen in my whole entire life."
The girl, who was struck by a bullet in the stomach, was rushed to Lincoln Hospital, where she died. She was with family members at the time of the shooting.
Surveillance video released by police shows a man running down nearby Fox Street, apparently being chased by the two moped riders. The man riding on the back opened fire, the video showed. The child was half a block away from where the gun was fired.
The two men on the moped, both wearing dark-colored sweatshirts, immediately fled from the scene of the shooting, heading north on Fox Street.
Witnesses described the horrifying aftermath.
"The girl, she just kept saying 'Ow, ow, ow' and holding her stomach. We were trying to figure out where she got shot at, we checked her leg there was nothing," said witness Maya Jones. "She kept holding different places, then she stopped responding."
"When I heard her age I broke down, because it's like, she just came from school, and it's like, why her? Why it had to be her? Why y'all doing this?" Jones added.
Kyhara's family said they believe people in the neighborhood may know something, but could be hesitant to come forward.
"We're talking about an 11-year-old girl with her whole future. Her whole family is devastated with this loss," said the victim's aunt, Norka Sanchez. "At this point, we cannot bring her back. But we want somebody to say something. Please, please, please say something if you know. Because this is ridiculous."
The girl was at least the second young child to be shot in the Bronx in 2022. In January, an 11-month-old girl, just days away from her first birthday, was shot in the face while sitting in a car with his mother in the Bronx. That victim left the hospital just days ago after having to relearn how to eat and walk again on her own.
NYPD Crime Stoppers has distributed a flyer of the scooter-riding duo wanted in the death of Kyhara Tay and is offering up to $10,000 in reward for information in connection to the case.