|Birth: ||Dec. 9, 1997|
|Death: ||May 29, 2008|
God bless and thank you, Kim Koper Davis, for sponsoring this precious child's site.
Passed Away: Albany, NY, USA
A FIFTEEN YEAR OLD BOY HAS BEEN ARRESTED IN KATHINA'S DEATH AS OF JUNE 11, 2008
Last week, Kathina Thomas attended Sunday school for the first time at Blessed Hope Worship Center on Central Avenue. She liked it so much she stayed for the 11 a.m. service.
It was in the church that the 10-year-old girl began the last 24 hours of her life, at a women's night on Wednesday alongside Roxanne Fraser, a friend from her family's native Guyana in South America.
Had Fraser known what lay ahead, she said she would have made sure Kathina came to church Thursday, too. That night, a stray .45 caliber bullet tore through the child's back as she played in front of her First Street home.
"She said 'Mommy, I got shot in my back.' She fell toward me and I held her," Kathina's devastated mother, Shondell McAllister, said Friday, speaking from her mother's steps on Clinton Avenue.
Calm, yet still struggling to speak about her daughter, a fourth-grader at Sheridan Preparatory Academy, McCallister said she was too scared to return home to First Street. She called for help when her daughter was shot, but said no one on the street offered any.
Sixteen months ago, Kathina's family moved from Guyana to Albany in part because of the opportunities an American education would give her.
But the child died at Albany Medical Center Hospital shortly after the 8:20 p.m. shooting.
"There's more opportunity over here," said her 18-year-old brother, George Yhap. "But it's more dangerous, too. This place is so big. ... You know your neighbor and stuff in Guyana, but over here you don't even know your neighbor."
Doctors tried to break the news gently.
"My mother kept asking me, 'Is she alive? Is she alive?' " Yhap recalled.
Still seemingly in shock, he stood Friday beside a growing memorial of balloons, cards, candles and stuffed animals on the stoop of 445 First St. The Albany High School senior was supposed to be getting ready for his prom Saturday night. Instead, he offered to show reporters cell phone photos of his little sister's lifeless body.
Another brother, Okeefe Yhap, turned 16 recently. "So this is what I get for my birthday: a dead sister." He urged neighbors to cooperate with police.
"It could be your child and you would want someone to say something," he said.
The girl was standing on her stoop when she was struck, said a high-ranking law enforcement source. Police received reports of shots fired from more than one location, but could not determine where the shooter was standing when Kathina was shot.
One .45-caliber shell casing was recovered "a significant distance" from where Kathina was hit, the source said, but it hasn't been linked to the bullet that killed her.
The shooting comes as investigators continue to battle repeated episodes of gun violence between feuding gangs based in Albany's "uptown" and "downtown" neighborhoods. Albany Police Chief James W. Tuffey said investigators were "making progress" late Friday, but declined to speculate on whether any arrest might be imminent.
OBITUARY FROM ALBANY TIMES UNION:
"A smile costs nothing, but gives much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those that give. It takes but a moment, but the memory lasts forever." The memory of Kathina's brilliant smile is marked indelibly in the minds of all those she encountered. It was infectious: it simply had a way of making everyone around her happy. Kathina Thomas went back to the Lord Thursday, May 29, 2008. She was born on December 9, 1997 in Georgetown, Guyana. She attended St. Pius Primary School in East Lapentience, Guyana. With the help of her grandmother, Desiree McAllister-Jennings, she moved to the United States on January 10, 2007 with her mother and three siblings. Kathina was enrolled into Sheridan Preparatory Academy where she flourished. She loved her teachers, always greeting them with a smile and a hug. She received such love and care from her school community which inspired her to want to be a teacher. Her compassion for family and friends, and passion for learning made her an amazing girl and student. When her fellow classmates were asked what they would remember most about her, they responded with words and phrases such as "being nice, hard working, caring, always sharing, and a good friend." Kathina's favorite color was pink and her favorite toy was her brown teddy bear. She loved riding her bike. She loved to dance and sing. She participated in the YMCA youth dance troupe. Kathina leaves to cherish her memory, her mother, Shondell McAllister; her father, Agree Thomas; her siblings, George, O'Keefe, and O'Kelly Yhap; her grandparents, Desiree McAllister-Jennings, Ronald Jennings and Hazelyn Thomas; her great aunts, Eula (Harold) Grant (godmother), Jeanette McAllister, and Norma McAllister; her uncles, Carey (Kalatha) Williams, Anthony Kingston, Larry Glasgow and Trevor Massey; her aunts, Donette Kingston and Loreen (Robert) Burgess; her cousins, Patricia Grant Barton, Jacqueline Azora, Beveney Atkins, Omari Kingston, Alvin Damon, Ann Marie Grant, Shivonne Burgess, Onetta Burgess, Norcia and Jadden Parsons and a host of other relatives. A celebration of Kathina's life will be held Monday 6 p.m. at Blessed Hope Worship Center, 193 Central Ave., Albany, with Pastor Ronald D. Howard officiating. The family will receive relatives and friends on Monday from 3 to 6 p.m. prior to the service at the church. A committal service will be held 11 a.m. on Tuesday in Graceland Cemetery, Albany. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kathina Thomas Family Fund care of SEFCU Member Group Development Dept., 700 Patroon Blvd., 12206. Arrangements are entrusted to Tebbutt & Frederick Memorial Home, Albany. To express condolences, visit scott-barbieri.com
New York, USA
Created by: Grace, Peace and Love, K...
Record added: May 31, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27218225