© 2021 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Government, Politics & Issues

As number of homicide victims continues rising in St. Louis, aldermen honor young girl who lived

Deniya Irving, 7, smiles at her grandmother, Lawanda Griffin, after the Board of Aldermen adopted a resolution honoring the girl on October 20, 2017. Deniya was shot in the head in June in an incident that left her parents and another man dead.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly 160 people have been killed in St. Louis this year, putting the city on pace for almost 200 homicides for the third year in a row.

Deniya Irving, 7, was almost among them. She was shot in the head in June, an incident that left her parents and another man dead. She was not expected to survive, but can now walk with a cane and speak a few words at a time.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday adopted a resolution in her honor, promising to work “within our communities to reduce the senseless, violent crimes” like the ones that left Deniya and her sisters without their parents.

“We see in this family the power of love, and the transformative abilities that it has,” said Alderman Terry Kennedy, D-18th Ward, who was the most senior aldermen in attendance on Friday. “If we work with that in our community, we can change this city from what it is today to a much better place to live. The power of love is a great and mighty power that allows the world to continue to circle around the sun.”

Lawanda Griffin, Deniya’s grandmother and guardian, at times was overwhelmed by the attention.

“She deserves it,” Griffin said of the honor her granddaughter was receiving. “I hope that it will bring St. Louisans together, and give them something to think about. Definitely about the gun violence and all the children that are getting harmed and hurt behind it.”

Jerome Buress of St. Louis faces 13 felony charges in connection with the shooting that injured Deniya.

Eight of the 159 people killed in St. Louis this year were under age 16. The number of children injured by gunfire was not readily available.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.