‘You took away our happiness’, grandmother of 16-year-old Nashville murder victim makes heartfelt plea


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) -The grandparents of a 16-year-old murder victim could barely keep their composure as they made an emotional plea. 

“If anyone knows anything about this situation, please, please come forth,” said Sarah Birdsong, maternal grandmother of Ja’Niya Birdsong. “You all just don’t know what you took from us.”

Sunday night, Metro Police say the Hillsboro High School junior was shot and killed in the driveway of her grandmother’s home on Eckhart Drive in South Nashville. “This was MY heart. MY love. MY everything,” said Birdsong while weeping. 

Monday, investigators say they believe the shooter got away in a light colored sedan, but have not yet identified a suspect. “You took away our happiness,” said Birdsong about the killer. “You took away our smile. You took away our heart. And now her mother is mourning for her daughter because of a gunshot wound in the head.”

Family members say Ja’Niya was on the school wrestling team and had dreams of being a hair stylist or lawyer. “I just want whoever took my child away from me to be punished for it,” said Valerie Perkins, the victim’s paternal grandmother. “She was only a baby.”

Perkins says Ja’Niya lost her father to gun violence when she was just seven-years-old. “Nine years ago, he got killed,” said Perkins. “So, this is very hard. It’s very hard.”

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