Teenage girl shot Sunday dies two days later
The teenage girl who was shot in the head over the weekend while in a minivan on Jersey Street was declared legally dead Tuesday night.
Ciony Kirkman, 16, was declared legally dead at Capital Health Regional Medical Center around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Kirkman was inside a stolen minivan with a group of other kids when the vehicle was ambushed by gunfire on Jersey Street around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Several sources told The Trentonian that residents of Jersey Street were warned the street was “going to be lit up like a firecracker” minutes prior to the shooting.
Sources say minutes after the warning, they heard at least a dozen gunshots in rapid succession.
Police say Kirkman was in a stolen Ford Windstar with six other juveniles when someone fired gunshots at the vehicle. At least one bullet traveled through the minivan’s rear windshield. After it was hit, the vehicle traveled to the intersection of Beatty Street and South Clinton Avenue and police were dispatched to the area.
Several of Kirkman’s friends and family members visited the hospital after the incident, hopeful that she would recover from her injuries. Many of them also posted messages to social media wishing Kirkman a speedy recovery. Those messages of optimism turned to sorrow after the news of her death spread throughout the community.
“Ciony didn’t deserve this,” Jessica Torres wrote in a message to The Trentonian. “She was like a sister to me. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. She loved to dance; she was always dancing and smiling.”
Her classmates said Kirkman was a student at Daylight/Twilight Alternative High School, and that she was involved in dance and cheerleading. They described her as “a good person.”
A spokesperson for the Trenton Board of Education issued a written statement Wednesday afternoon expressing sympathy and condolences, and the school district sent crisis counselors to console grieving students.
“Our hearts are heavy as we absorb the news of the tragedy,” the statement said. “The loss has affected the entire school community at Daylight Twilight H.S., Trenton Central High School – Chambers Campus and Dunn Middle School. At times like these, we are all family, and we all mourn together.”
By all accounts, Kirkman was an innocent bystander caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sources believe the target of the shooting was in the minivan with Kirkman and several other kids.
The shooting sparked an outcry from community leaders who held a stop-the-violence rally in Trenton’s South Ward Tuesday night to begin a movement aimed at preventing gun violence in the capital city.
Kirkman is the fifth person to be killed in Trenton this year.
Police have not released a suspect description, nor a motive for the shooting.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406 or contact the Trenton Police confidential tip line at (609) 989-3663. Individuals may also call the Trenton Crime Stoppers tip line at (609) 278-8477. Those wishing to text a tip can send a message labeledTCSTIPS to Trenton Crime Stoppers at 274637.