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Family and friends of woman shot to death in Rockford want justice

A grieving family makes an impassioned plea to the community for answers, after a 21-year-old woman is shot to death and killed early Sunday morning.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 10:36 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “We were leaving, we didn’t plan to stay at all,” said Tyasia Layne. “She wasn’t comfortable here, she didn’t want to stay.”

Tyasia Layne was with two of her friends, when she stopped by a party on Seminary St. to check on a friend early Sunday morning. Right as they were heading out, things took a horrible turn for the worse.

“They just started shooting at us,” said Tyasia. “And then they stopped and started shooting again.”

Some of those shots were fired straight into the back of Tyasia’s best friend, 21-year-old Mahogany Smith’s head, killing her.

“The only thing I can remember is like, the lights flashing,” said Tyasia. “And me holding her, and my shirt with her blood on it.”

Tyasia watched Mahogany die in her arms, and even though she was revived twice and rushed to the hospital, it wasn’t enough.

“This is someone else’s child,” said Mahogany’s Father Earl Smith. “This is our baby just like someone else’s baby.”

Mahogany’s parents say just as their baby’s life was ripped away, it’s hard not to think about a promising future that will never be realized.

“She was set to graduate college in two months,” said Earl. “Her birthday was in two weeks.” Mahogany’s mother Tennile Young Smith says family, friends and school were so important to her daughter.

“She loved being her self,” said Tennile. “And everyone loved her.”

They don’t want their daughter’s death to go under the radar. Several neighbors on Seminary St. and the Smith’s believe if police made it to the scene earlier, or broke up the party, their daughter would still be here.

“I think that there is a lack of support in the community, for people of (different) ethnicities,” said Earl.

Now, the Smith’s call on the people of Rockford to help them find those responsible, asking anyone who knows anything to step up, and say something.

“I would like for my daughters killer to be brought to justice,” said Earl. this is someone else’s child, and “I know you have children of your own too, and you would want the same thing.”

The Smith’s say although finding those responsible won’t bring their daughter back, it may bring them some sort of peace.

The Rockford Police Dept. says if you know anything about this crime, you can contact police anonymously by texting 847-411.

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