JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The father of the 7-year-old girl who lost her life to gun violence at a Westside strip mall says he's relieved police have arrested three men, but his daughter's death created a void that can't be filled.
A memorial continues growing in the parking lot where Heidy Rivas Villanueva was shot and killed last weekend. Her family is coming to terms with a harsh reality.
"Life has changed," Lenel Rivas, the girl's father, said in Spanish through an interpreter. "This is a pain that I wish on no one."
Rivas said he aches every morning as he awakens to see his Heidy's empty room. He says his daughter made him a better man.
Now, he hopes his daughter gets the justice she deserves and the people responsible feel the weight of the law.
"It will never take away the pain," Rivas said. " [But] I have another daughter that I can take refuge in."
Heidy's funeral will be Monday at Aaron & Burney Bivens Funeral Home on Kingsley Avenue in Orange Park. Family and friends request privacy from 1-2 p.m., but the public is welcome to attend from 2-5 p.m.
3 men arrested after girl's death
The third man suspected in the young girl's death, 21-year-old Abrion Price, appeared in court Friday after he was arrested Thursday night. Price was charged with felony murder.
His sister, Johnetrice Price, says he's been wrongly accused.
"I am truly sorry about their daughter [Heidy], and I am truly sorry that my brother was in the wrong spot at the wrong time," Johnetrice Price said. "At this time, two people have lost kids, my momma lost her son for some false information and they lost their child by a stray bullet. So, I feel bad for my mother and them and my family too."
In a tweet, the Sheriff's Office said a police officer got behind a car with a broken tail light and pulled it over. Abrion Price was in the car, police said.
They said he ran from the traffic stop, but a K-9 tracked him, and he was taken into custody.
Stanley Harris III and Trevonte Phoenix were also arrested in the shooting. Harris was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, but additional charges will be added.
Phoenix, 17, and Price, 19, are charged with felony murder because they were in the commission of a crime when Heidy was hit by the bullet that killed her. Price is also charged with possession of a weapon or ammunition by a felon. Phoenix will be prosecuted as an adult.