Family and friends of Deeniqua Dodds huddled under umbrellas Saturday night as rain poured on a vigil held just days after her death from a July 4 gunshot wound.
The Rev. Dyan McCray-Peters told a few dozen mourners that the rain signaled a higher connection to a 22-year-old who was remembered as a playful, dependable brother, sister and cousin throughout her short life.
“Right now, God, we feel and hear this rain. Even the angels are crying for the loss of our loved one,” McCray-Peters said during prayers.
Her family said that Dodds was born Gregory but was a transgender woman. D.C. police used both names in a news release about her homicide.
Dodds had been on life support at a hospital since she was shot just before 3 a.m. July 4 in the 200 block of Division Avenue NE. She was taken off life support Wednesday. Police have made no arrests.
Mourners gathered in the Clay Terrace public housing development where she grew up with her aunt Joanne Lewis. The aunt placed two framed photos of Dodd near a tree where flowers were laid to remember her.
Several family members spoke of her generosity toward her four siblings and younger cousins, and of a playful person who always smiled.
“I will never forget your smile as long as I live,” Lewis said. “But I know his day is coming that we will communicate . . . God is going to see to that.”
Cousins Diamond Lewis, 17, and Tiana Young, 14, said Dodds would do anything to make sure they were cared for and having fun, like scraping together enough cash for a run to the ice cream truck. She also played the practical joker who would skulk around the house making scary noises when they were home alone.
Her friend and transgender activist Earline Budd said a bright light from a loving, supportive family was lost too soon.
“D.D. wanted to live, that’s all. What happened that night, it should not have been,” Budd said in an interview.
Mourners held hands, prayed and sang “We Shall Overcome” as the rain poured, adding emphasis to family sorrow.
“I’m going to miss my daughter,” wept her mother, Nadine Dodd. “I’m going to miss everything about my daughter.”