Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson has offered to pay for the funeral expenses of an 11-year-old girl who was fatally shot over the weekend in her South Carolina home, CBS affiliate WSPA reported.
The shooting took place in the city of Anderson on Sunday, June 23. At least 35 bullets hit the home where Ja’Naiya Scott was killed and two others were injured. One of the other victims were Ja’Naiya’s cousin.
Traci Fant, an activist with Freedom Fighters Upstate, organized a vigil for Ja’Naiya on Wednesday, where Lawson announced he’d pay for the funeral. The vigil drew over 100 people, who wore purple in honor of the 11-year-old. Local officials, including Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts, were in attendance.
“It could have been my little sister,” Lawson told the Greenville News. “I’ve got a little sister around that age, and it could have been one of my family members.”
Police said the other 11-year-old victim injured in the shooting is still in the hospital and believed to be in critical condition. The 18-year-old victim has been released from the hospital.
“My little girl, she didn’t deserve this,” said Mershella Rice, Ja’Naiya’s mother, WSPA reported. “My niece, she didn’t deserve this. We didn’t deserve this.”
This isn’t Lawson’s first time lending a helping hand to a South Carolina community. In 2017, he took a group of kids from a foster home shopping for Christmas.
Lawson, who played at Clemson University, retweeted a post from a local journalist with a purple heart.