Dozens march in South Jamaica to remember D’aja

By Juan Soto

D’aja Robinson would have turned 16 Tuesday, but her life was cut short by a stray bullet as she was returning home on a city bus from a friend’s party in South Jamaica.

Now, more than a year after she was killed, family, neighbors and friends held a walk to celebrate her birthday.

Dozens, mostly young people, gathered on a rainy Tuesday evening at the intersection of 116th Road and Sutphin Boulevard in South Jamaica and walked together several blocks to the site where the senseless shooting occurred.

The walk was solemn. Some of the marchers carried umbrellas.

“It rained a little bit, but the event was beautiful,” said Glenda Daniels, D’aja’s cousin, . “It was very sad, but nice.”

Some community organizations took part in the march, and some participants held happy birthday balloons to mark D’aja’s Sweet 16. Others wore T-shirts with the teen’s picture to honor her.

The event was peaceful, and several community affairs officers from the 113th Precinct walked along with the marchers.

D’aja, an only child, was coming home on a Q6 bus in May 2013 from a Sweet 16 party when she was killed. She lived a mile from the site of the shooting.

Her death spurred reactions throughout the city.

She was remembered Tuesday by her friends. Her grandmother attended the vigil that ended near Baisley Pond Park.

The participants, who marched along Sutphin Boulevard, paid their respects at a makeshift memorial by the park.

Once the memorial was over, people returned to their homes.

The walk took place two weeks after the police made a second arrest in the case of the teen’s death.

Kevin McClinton, 22, and Shamel Capers, 16, have been charged in connection with the murder of the teenager.

McClinton was arrested in South Carolina and extradited to New York a few weeks after the 2013 shooting, and Capers surrendered to police last month. Both face murder charges, the Queens DA said.

“These two defendants showed a wanton disregard for human life,” said Richard Brown, Queens district attorney, after announcing the arrest of the second suspect in the case.

According to the Queens district attorney’s office, on the day of the murder Capers walked to the bus stop opposite 125-60 Sutphin Blvd. and allegedly shot several rounds into the Q6.

After, McClinton allegedly took the gun from Capers and continued firing into the bus, the DA said.

A bullet pierced the bus window and hit D’aja. She was pronounced dead a short time later at Jamaica Hospital.

“She was such a smart kid,” Daniels said. “Always smiling. She was just a very happy kid.”

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.