Sharmar Hill Jr. loved watching the Disney Junior superhero show, “PJ Masks.”
On Monday, during the 3-year-old’s memorial service at New Life Deliverance Tabernacle in Richmond, Virginia, his family made sure to place his favorite PJ Masks stuffed toy, Catboy, inside his casket with his tiny body.
Two Saturday afternoons before, Sharmar was playing right outside his home when he was shot and killed by a stray bullet.
Two groups of people were firing at each other when Sharmar was shot, police believe, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
“It’s been a nightmare, worst thing you can ever imagine,” Sharmar Hill, Sr. told local station WRIC. “I wish I could wake up. This is like a dream to me.”
Sharmar’s older sisters, 14 and 10, raced outside to try to help him before an ambulance rushed him to a local hospital, WRIC reports.
“They said he didn’t have a pulse and they tried three times,” the boy’s tearful mother, Shaniqua Allen, told WRIC.
Friends and family of 3-year-old Sharmar Hill Jr. gathered for an open-casket funeral service Monday afternoon. https://t.co/cw2IbEfrV5— 8News WRIC Richmond (@8NEWS) February 10, 2020
8News Reporter @Talya8news attended Monday's ceremony and will have a full report tonight on 8News at 5 & 6. pic.twitter.com/lEngHJu9sW
Now police are calling for witnesses to come forward so they can bring justice to Sharmar and his grieving family.
“We know there was a set of people out there shooting and firing guns in the area,” Richmond Police Homicide Det. Joseph Fultz said, local station WTVR reports.
“For whatever reason, they decided to shoot up the neighborhood where little kids are outside playing in the playground.”
Since the shooting happened in broad daylight, and people were outside when Sharmar was fatally shot, Fultz said any witnesses who come forward wouldn’t be snitching.
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“In a case like this … there’s no such thing as snitching on someone who’s taken a human life,” Fultz said.
“The only way you get crime to stop like this is when the citizens take a stand and come out and point these people out.”
While authorities continue to search for Sharmar’s killer, on Monday, more than 200 mourners came out to celebrate his short life.
The boy’s devastated father spoke about the son he loved.
“He changed my life,” he said, WRIC reports. “He’s my hero. I pray to God that he gives us the strength and gives us the wings to join our son in Heaven today.”
Among those in attendance were Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond Police Chief William Smith and Richmond City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson of the 6th District, local station WRIC reports.
“Sharmar Hill was 39 months old, he was just a baby,” Mayor Stoney said.
“This isn’t just a violent shooting, we have been robbed. Who knows what hero he could have been for our city. God alone can’t fix this, our thoughts, prayers and actions can.”
Vowing to do everything he can to find whoever killed Sharmar, the mayor said, “We will never give up.”
“My heart bleeds with yours,” Councilwoman Robertson said to Sharmar’s parents during the service, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
Anyone with information about Sharmar’s case is asked to call Major Crimes Detective J. Fultz at 804-646-3929 or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or submit a tip online.
All forms of contact are anonymous.