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Friends, family release balloons to honor women killed

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Friends and family gathered Wednesday evening to remember a mother who was shot and killed in a Northside home several months ago.

Wednesday would have been Sharnice Wilson's 24th birthday. Wilson and her godmother, 40-year-old Marquisha Phillips, were shot and killed when bullets were fired at their home in June. Wilson's 2-year-old daughter, Ta-niyah Brooks, was also grazed and seriously injured.

The family put aside their grief and celebrated what would have been Wilson's birthday by holding a balloon release in her memory. The family is also seeking justice because no arrests have been made in the shooting.

According to police, Wilson and her daughter were spending the night at Phillips' home, when shots were fired into the home located on Chestnut Drive near a railroad track. Both Wilson and Phillips were killed, and authorities never caught the person or persons who fired the shots.

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Dozens of family members, including Wilson's mother prepared for what was one of the last birthday wishes.

"I know we had the conversation that she wanted a birthday dinner at a party in the yard and that's what we're going to do after this in remembrance of her," Ursula Johnson said. "Sharnice is truly missed but I know that God doesn't make mistakes and, you know, we all have our time that we have to go."

Although big sister Mercedes Johnson said her little sister will be missed, she said no one is taking away the light that Sharnice was.

"Me and my mom was just talking about how if Sharnice was here she would have had us laughing and just having a good time and that's what we want to do," Mercedes Johnson said.

Ursula Johnson said she will have a balloon release for her daughter every year on her birthday.

Family friend, George Richardson said it's really been difficult trying to deal with the shooting.

"It's been real difficult just knowing that a friend that you don't have is gone so tragically that something like that happened," said Richardson. "It's hard. It's hard every day when you think about it."

It's been more than five months since Phillips and Wilson were killed. There have been no arrests and loved ones are still looking for answers.

"I would love for them to find them, prosecute them. I believe life in prison is the best thing for him. I don't want him to go to the electric chair because that's too easy for them," said Richardson.

He told his children about the shooting as a reminder to keep them away from crime and violence. He said he's relying on his faith to help him deal with this tragedy.

Family and friends are asking anyone who knows anything about the shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.