wjxt logo

Family, friends remember girl killed after being shot in head

Heidy Rivas Villanueva would have been 8 years old Saturday

Photo does not have a caption

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On Nov. 3, 2010, Heidy Rivas Villanueva was born. She died at 7 years old after she was shot in the head, caught in the middle of a shootout off the westside.

On Saturday, family and friends remembered Heidy, an innocent child with a promising future who would've been 8 years old today.

A song for Heidy was sung as loved ones held pink balloons in their hands and memories of Heidy in their hearts.

The little girl with a bright smile and kind heart died after she was shot in the head, caught in the middle of a shootout at a shopping center on 103rd Street on Aug. 11.

Heidy died in her father's arms.

On Saturday, her mother and father held each other as they remembered the moment she was born.

"She was born at 11 o' clock in the morning, and her mother took her in her arms and she said it was the best day of her life," Heidy's father said. "It's so sad that it was so short time that she was only 7."

Heidy's mother poured her heart out Saturday night about Heidy. Her words were translated by a family friend from Spanish to English, saying despite her daughter's murder, she does not feel hate for who caused her daughter's death.

"Since she was little, her mother and her father show her not to hate people, and she grow up with that and she have to tell something to these people, it was that to look for God and to look for forgiveness, and she does not feel hate, but she would like to see justice for Heidy," said Pastor Ronnie Cucuta, a family friend.

Five people have been arrested in connection with Heidy's shooting death.

Trevonte Phoenix, 17, and Abrion Price, 19, were charged with felony murder because they were in the commission of a crime when Heidy was hit by the bullet that killed her.

The bullet that killed the girl was from the gun of Stanley Harris III. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.


About the Author:

16-year veteran journalist and Emmy Award winning anchor