Tarrano Murry attempted to obtain a trace of the essence of her 18-year-old daughter when she packed her bedroom at Bradley University, a week after she was shot to death at an off-campus party.
He found his backpack and found a folder of neatly organized notes kept by the specialist in biomedical sciences, although he could not understand them.
"I wish there was a way I could finish what I was studying," Murry said. "I know it's a bit difficult, but I wish one of my other sons would follow what I was doing, but it's up to them."
His daughter, Nasjay Murry, dreamed of becoming the family's first doctor. But instead, months after the Chicago native began his first year, his family is finalizing the details of his funeral this weekend in Chicago.
Nasjay Murry was at an off-campus party on April 8 early when the shots rang and she was shot to death, Peoria police said. Another person at the party, Anthony Polnitz, 22, of Peoria, was also shot dead, Peoria police said. A third person was injured but survived the shooting.
That morning, Tarrano Murry's 11-year-old daughter called to tell her about the shooting.
"That's when everything went wrong," he said. "I just could not believe it … I just could not."
A 16-year-old boy is charged with murder in the first degree, but the authorities have not named him because of his age. The police do not believe that anyone else will be charged, but Murry wants to see anyone else involved with criminal charges. About 100 people, a mix of Bradley students and residents of Peoria, attended the off-campus party in the 1800 block of West Bradley Avenue, police said.
In the last week, Murry has tried to reconstruct what happened and learned that his daughter was near a door when the shooting started.
"I do not understand why the people of the neighborhood, you know people like to gang, it would come to something like that," he said. "They are not in school or anything." It's as if they brought the devil there. "
Nasjay Murry was the eldest of three siblings, and had two additional stepsisters, her father said, and her paternal grandmother, Patricia Hill, said the teenager would be stressed about her classes, but she always managed to finish well. He graduated from Martin Luther King Jr. High School on the south side of the city.
David Narain, the director of King College Prep, said Murry was a quiet student but would open in one – a conversation It was not unusual to see her working on homework when school was over, she said.He was also concerned about his community on the south side, Narain said.He remembers talking to him about how it could have an impact on his community.
"All of our students are very bright," Narain said. "They go to school to escape the violence and circumstances that are associated with the south side of Chicago, but in For Nasjay that (not) was necessarily the case. "
Murry had been accepted into several schools, including the prestigious Brown University, and the high school staff tried to persuade her to attend Ivy School League in Providence, Rhode Island. But the pull of his family and his support was hard, and he was worried about the cultural shock he would experience on a predominantly white campus, Narain said.
"I think I was a little nervous about whether I would succeed in that environment without its support structure," Narain said. At Bradley, he thought he was just a bus and train ride from his family.
Through Snapchat, Murry kept in touch with his friends from high school, as they sent pictures while studying or at other times wished good luck. night and good morning. And through Facebook, April Hill, one of her cousins, helped the teenager with her schoolwork.
But Murry did not take himself too seriously, calling himself the professional fool, his cousin said. She recalls that Murry would spontaneously start singing songs from New Edition, an R & B group from the 1980s, while cleaning the house.
"He danced battles with his sister, singing battles with his uncles and rap battles with his father," Hill said. "It was a ball of fun."
Tia Rice, a friend from high school, recalled "Can You Stand the Rain," from New Edition, one of Murry's favorite songs. It was one of the songs he sang often while preparing for gym class in high school.
"Every time we got ready, we had to go to the ticket office to change and we would run into the cupboards and make rhythms and make songs," Rice said.
Kiera Myles, another friend from high school, remembers the long bus trips for the trips they took as part of the school band.
we watch movies, we cut jokes, we sing songs, we tell stories, "Myles said," and after a time when everyone fell asleep, we fell asleep. "
Myles and Rice plan to travel back to Chicago to attend On Monday, a relative left pop at the North Kenwood family home for the funeral, Patricia Hill and Tarrano Murry can not shake the image of Nasjay Murry in the Peoria County coroner's office. family.
"She did not deserve this at all," her father said. "She was just beginning her life, her new life. Someone taking it for its drama … is the hardest part. "
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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