Friends and family hold vigil for Fresno teen killed in gang shooting

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With candles in their hands, family and friends of Kayla Foster surrounded her memorial in Southwest Fresno, and Kayla's dad made a plea to the community to end gang violence. (KFSN)

With candles in their hands, family and friends of Kayla Foster surrounded a memorial in Southwest Fresno Saturday night.

They were praying for hope and peace nearly one week after her tragic death. But outside of remembering the vibrant high school senior, loved ones spent time calling on the community to end gun violence.

It was a mission Kayla took on well before her life was cut short.

"She had a smile that could light up the building," her dad Aaron said.

Foster's father says this is not the first time he has lost a child this way. Four years ago, on the exact same weekend his daughter died, his son was shot and killed.

"So four years later, we're under the same condition so I want to see a system that actually works," he said.

Family Pastor Joby Jones says the message is simple. He is calling on gang members to put their guns down and be responsible for their actions.

"There's a better way than the street life, gang banging and stuff like that," he said. "We're doing more damage than good. We're losing families."

It's something Kina McFadden knows well. She too wants the killings to stop.

"It's a life that no longer can live, a life that can no longer be productive in the community," she said. "And if we're killing off our future, we're killing off our instinct to even be humans."

And as the prayer vigil came to a close, the question of who has lost someone to gun violence was raised. And in this moment, just about everyone raised their hand - signifying a common bond that can be used to break a deadly cycle.

"This shouldn't be happening," Aaron said. "We can do something to change it if we work together."

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