SOUTH JAMAICA — Thousands grieved for 14-year-old D’aja Robinson at her funeral Friday, after she was shot dead on a city bus last week.
Mourners flooded Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York on Merrick Boulevard, where Robinson's body lay in a lavender dress inside a white coffin.
Relatives held handkerchiefs and wrapped their arms around each other as they sang “Amazing Grace” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
“Who would’ve known that I would never see my best friend after today?” wailed Shaquanna Almonds, who was with Robinson on the bus when she was killed.
"D'aja, I'm gonna really miss you, baby girl," she added. "I'm gonna hold momma strong just for you."
The straight-A student was coming home from a friend's Sweet Sixteen party on a bus about 9 p.m. Saturday when she was shot in the head on Sutphin Boulevard near Baisley Pond Park by a gunman who police believe was aiming at someone else. Sources said the NYPD believes the shooting was gang-related and that the intended target was a 14-year-old girl in a rival gang who had dissed the shooter's gang on Facebook.
At the funeral on Friday, Rev. Alphonso Wyatt urged Robinson's friends and the other young people in the audience to make smart decisions and keep away from gangs.
“You have a destiny. And your destiny is not to be a nobody,” he said. “God made you in his image — not to be a corner warmer or a sneaker pimp, not to die for a piece of concrete, a street that will never know your name.”
Deanna Ingram, a close friend of Robinson's since elementary school, sobbed as she said she now valued that friendship even more.
“You never know how much you love someone until they’re gone,” Ingram said.