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'We need justice': Family of 14-year-old girl shot, killed at Aurora park demands answers

Kamiaya Keyera Cleveland
Posted at 10:02 PM, Jul 08, 2024

AURORA, Colo. — Just after 9 p.m. on Saturday, a shooting at Highland Hollows Park in Aurora shattered the family of 14-year-old Kamiaya Cleveland.

Kamiaya was one of three teenagers shot at the park that night. The 14-year-old died as a result of her injuries, and her death was ruled a homicide.

The other two girls were hospitalized, and their condition is currently unknown.

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Coroner identifies 14-year-old girl shot, killed during party at Aurora park

Robert Garrison
1:17 PM, Jul 08, 2024

Kamiaya's mother, Krystal Cleveland, described her oldest child as responsible and caring. She said Kamiaya was a devoted big sister, always taking care of her two younger siblings.

“She made sure that she took time and care with everybody that she knew. Everybody that she encountered knew that she loved them because she made sure that they did," Krystal said through tears. “I know that there's a lot of people that loved her too, so I would just like them to come forward and say something. That will be helpful.”

Kamiaya's grandmother, Annie Cleveland, said her granddaughter had big dreams. She was excited to learn to drive next year and was planning to take a family trip to Mexico when she graduated.

“I feel like my heart is ripped in like a million pieces... I remember last time she was here, she hugged me and gave me a kiss. She always did and always would have done in the future as well, I'm sure. But she'd always give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek," Annie said. “We need justice for Kamiaya so she can rest in peace, you know, because she's probably not going to rest in peace until justice is served.”

Kamiaya had just finished her freshman year at Aurora Central High School and was preparing to celebrate her 15th birthday at the end of July. She begged for braces and was determined to show off her smile.

"They were going to take [the braces] off early as her teeth were, they straightened. They moved a lot faster than they thought they would. [The braces] were on their way out," Krystal said.

Kamiaya Keyera Cleveland

Kamiaya always told her family how much she loved them, and Saturday was no different.

“I know that she loved me, and I know that she knows that I love her. And that's the only piece of comfort that I have right now," said Krystal. “That was my first baby, you know? She's the first person to call me mom. It’s not fair that somebody could just take that from me without consequence. Whoever did that to my baby has to pay for it.”

As of Monday, no arrests have been made and the Aurora Police Department has not publicly identified any suspects. Police said the shooting occurred after a fight broke out at the park during a party.

“We just know that she was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and essentially we have no details as to what happened," said one of Kamiaya's aunts, Kayla Cleveland. “We've never had to do anything like this. And especially because she's, like, the peacemaker... I think I’ll forever be empty.”

Another one of Kamiaya's aunts, Kandice Cleveland, said it's been a shock to have gun violence steal away someone she loved so dearly.

“Having to deal with [gun violence] firsthand because it became, you know, sort of having to be there for the community when things like that happen, to then asking for the community to be there for you," Kandice explained. “There's just a spot that won't be able to be filled by losing Kamiaya."

Family shares memories of 14-year-old girl shot, killed at Aurora park

All of her family is pleading with anyone who was at the park that night, or neighbors in the area, to come forward with information that leads to answers for the family.

“We urge anyone who knows anything to come forward and do the right thing and say something," said Kandice. "Because that's what her mom, her little sister, her little brother, us, that's what we deserve, and that's what Kamiaya deserves.”

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.

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