Friends and family of a 15-year-old girl who was shot and killed gathered in Surfside to honor her on the first anniversary of her death.
For Arya Gray’s family, the pain caused by her death remains fresh in their minds.
“It hurts the same. That pain will never go away,” Sasha Gray, Arya’s sister, said. “Obviously, it was heartbreaking for my family because we’re all a very close family.”
Dozens of attendees gathered outside of the Gray’s Surfside home on Wednesday to light candles and lanterns in the 15-year-old’s honor.
“She was just really, like, a happy person, super bright, super smart, super funny,” Gray said. “Just the fact that she was in my life, like, I’m grateful for that, regardless of how long or short it was.”
“She was a great person to be around,” Mia Rey, Arya’s friend, said. “I absolutely loved her.”
City of Miami Police said the 15-year-old was shot and killed in an apartment on May 12, 2020. Initially, police said the shooting was an accident, but a few days later, Thalys Oliveira was arrested and charged with manslaughter. He remains under house arrest.
Gray said she was at the Miami apartment when the shooting occurred and is still trying to process the pain.
“It made me feel like I failed as her big sister,” she said. “Like, I was supposed to protect her, and I couldn’t, and I know that it’s not my fault or anything, but that’s, like, something I have to live with, so it’s really hard.”
Gray said her family is thankful for the support they have received from the community over the past year.
“It means a lot just to know that so many people loved my sister as much as I did,” she said.
Mariano Corcilli, a family friend who is also their attorney, said the family hopes justice will be served.
“It is incredibly frustrating that someone killed someone that we love, and that person is not behind bars,” he said. “The frustration is not with anyone in specific other than the person that shot Arya.”
Those present for the memorial said despite Arya being gone, the joy and happiness she brought to many will not be forgotten.