DURHAM, N.C. – On Saturday, family and friends of 15-year-old Yazmine Noel-McDougald gathered at Oakwood Park in Durham for a rally to remember the Southern High School student three months after she was shot and killed.
“She loved to play basketball, she loved to dance,” said Erica Young, Jazmine’s aunt. “She was the life of the party, she just loved to make you laugh. Being around her was a blessing and to not have that anymore, it just hurts.
McDougald’s family said she had just completed her freshman year and she was spending time with her cousins and friends outside an apartment building on South Woodcrest Street on the night of June 24.
That’s when gunfire rang out.
According to police, anywhere between 25 to 30 shots were fired and McDougald was shot.
She was taken to the hospital where she later died.
“I’m hurt, every day I wake up and I cry,” said Jocelyn Noel, Yazmine’s mother. “I haven’t slept in over three months because I miss my baby.”
At Saturday’s rally, McDougald’s family called on people in the community to put the guns down.
“She was only 15 years old, she did not deserve to lose her life because she wanted to hang out with her friends somewhere,” said Julia Young, Yazmine’s grandmother. “This is the result of someone pulling the trigger, we don’t have her with us anymore. I never would’ve thought in one million years I would be standing here with her on my shirt, instead of beside me.”
Her family said they are still waiting for an arrest to be made in the case.
“We just want people to know that what you think is nothing, it could be something to the police if you just tell it,” Julia Young said. “We’re waiting for justice, we just want them to be held accountable for their actions.”
To try to help address the problem of gun violence, her family has started the Yazmine Noel-McDougald Foundation.
Through the foundation, her family said they plan to hold regular rallies, workshops, and connect parents in the Durham community with resources they need, such as job information.
Her family said their goal is to get parents the help they need in an effort to help reduce the violence in the community.
“It’s time for parents to take back your households, it’s time for you to parent your kids,” said Julia Young. “Enough is enough because it starts at home. This should not be the norm. It has to stop.”
The family is seeking volunteers for the foundation. For more information, you can contact Gregory Webb at Webbfvrd@netzero.com.
Police said anyone with information about the shooting should call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.