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Pinellas neighbors gather in memory 5-year-old

On Saturday afternoon, Tivica Green Muhammad carried three red, heart-shaped balloons in memory of her nephew.

Kevon Wilson, 5, was killed May 28 at the Pinellas Point Apartments, police say, when a 14-year-old girl drove her mother's car into the child, pinning him against a wall.

Green Muhammad organized a community party Saturday at Lake Vista Park in honor of Kevon. The party was organized mainly for the children of the apartment complex, including those who witnessed Kevon's death. This was a chance for them to heal, Green Muhammad said.

More than 150 people attended. They enjoyed hamburgers and hotdogs, face-painting and moon bounces. About 15 counselors also were there to help people affected by Kevon's death.

The children, especially, may not know how to express their grief, Green Muhammad said. Organizers wanted to bring the therapy to them rather than wait for them to seek it out.

"It weighs on them," said Rose Wainwright, 48, of Pinellas Point apartments. "It weighs on me, too."

Wainwright's 8-year-old grandson, Jacquez Dawson, was with Kevon when he was hit. Jacquez also was hit by the car. He suffered a leg injury that causes him to limp. He gets therapy twice a week.

Wainwright, who saw the incident, said she still has nightmares about it. She also has noticed that Jacquez laughs less and whimpers in his sleep.

Friends who witnessed the accident don't sit at the wall anymore.

"No one's going to sit at that wall for a long time," said Joshua Davis, 13.

It used to be a hangout spot because "there ain't nothing to do," said his brother, Jonathan Davis, 10. The adults planned Saturday's events so the children could have a better place to play than a parking lot.

They also wanted to teach them the value of the life lost and the importance of obeying parents.

Police have reported that the 14-year-old driver got her mother's car keys so she could retrieve her books from her Volkswagen Cabrio. But police said the girl decided to get behind the wheel and drive.

No charges have been filed, though the case remains under investigation.

Kevon's mother, Sikkina Wilson, 22, needed coaxing to join the party. Family members said it was hard for her to attend a party where her son would be absent from the crowd of playing children.

At the beginning of the afternoon, she sat on a bench gazing at her T-shirt, which had a picture of a smiling Kevon.

Later in the day, Wilson had come around and was dancing and smiling.

"That brings joy to my heart; it overrides the pain," said Green Muhammad.

At the end of the afternoon, she released the red balloons.

Pinellas neighbors gather in memory 5-year-old 06/28/08 [Last modified: Saturday, June 28, 2008 10:32pm]
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