September 03, 2016
A pastor told mourners who were saying goodbye to an innocent child gunned down in a drug dispute "we are praying for justice. Justice is here in the city of Camden."
But even as a horse-drawn hearse carried the body of Gabby Hill Carter to her burial in the city of Camden's most historic cemetery, there was no justice 10 days after a drug gang member's bullet struck her in the head as she played outside her home in the Bergen Square section of the city.
Gabby's cousin, Brandy Medley, shook her head in disgust when asked if she worries about violence fueled by drugs in the city.
"All the time," said Medley. "When I come back to Camden, I get in and I get out. I used to live in Camden, but I had no choice but to go. I live in Washington Township, Gloucester County, now. The should have gone, too," she said of Gabby's family.
"And it bothers me that justice has not been served," as she walked away from the funeral at the Faith Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in the Cramer Hill section of Camden.
A group of teens walking by the funeral each said the violence of Camden is always on their minds.
"I feel safer away from here," said Angel Luciano, 16, who lives in Cramer Hill. "Nobody wants that, a little girl killed outside her home."
Christopher Colon, 16, who grew up near where Gabby was killed, said that neighborhood is known for drugs.
"It was always around 8 p.m. when the dealers made their money," he said. "It is so sad to say. She was just a little girl."
Angel Deleon, 16, said he feels pretty safe when he visits friends from Cramer Hill, but since he walks there from Pennsauken, he must walk through some of the worst neighborhoods in the city.
Having a child shot because of a drug gang dispute is "shocking," he said.
Jose Rivera, 15, said if you live in an unsafe neighborhood, "you have to know where you are living and not leave your kids out."
It was about 8:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night when three men from a drug gang stalked and shot at a man from another drug gang.
But the bullet missed it mark, instead striking Gabby, an honor roll student who had planned to try out for cheerleading in just a few days.
The little Camden girl was rushed to Cooper University Hospital's trauma center, but died two days later.
Camden County Police Chief J. Scott Thomson, who stood at the rear of the church during the more than four-hourlong gospel funeral service, said he understands – and share's the frustration of the community that no one has yet been arrested, despite a $76,000 reward that remains unclaimed.
He said he actively had officers working the case even as the funeral took place.
But he added that public safety is a "shared responsibility" and said that it is time for the community to "do the right thing" and come through with information.