By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer

The candlelight vigil was organized by local community activist Berry Accius, who says Black women and girls like Alynia Lawrence deserve to be protected and to have justice served when they aren’t. Robert Maryland, OBSERVER.

Alynia “Lena” Lawrence mattered. Community activists joined the family and friends of a local teen last week in a candlelight vigil held near the area on Stockton Boulevard where she was shot and killed on January 13.

Officials say Lawrence, 17, was murdered while sitting in a vehicle outside a liquor store, reportedly with an older man she was involved with and another woman. 

According to the Sheriff’s Department, someone called 911 to report a shooting, but when deputies arrived, they didn’t find a vehicle or any victims. Lawrence was later dropped off at UC Davis Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. There has been speculation that the shooting was targeted, but that Lawrence was not the intended victim. 

“She was a lost young girl, but she did not deserve death,” said vigil organizer Berry Accius. 

Accius is the founder of Voice of The Youth and She Could Be My Daughter. The groups help families in the wake of tragedies and brings awareness to the plight of missing and murdered Black women and girls. Accius says Black females, who are often ignored, deserve protection, attention and justice.

He and others say the vigil was about healing and accountability.  

A memorial of candles and balloons was erected near the site of the recent shooting. Robert Maryland, OBSERVER.

“We have to lift her name. Scream it up high and ask why. Who killed her,” Accius said.

Lawrence is described by her loved ones as an outgoing young lady who dreamed of being a model. Her family wants answers. 

“We need the help of the community,” said her great aunt Sandra Hudson. “[To] find a way to close this investigation and hold individuals accountable for the tragic ending to our baby girl’s life.” 

Anyone with information on Lawrence’s murder is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (916) 874-5115 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP. Tip information may also be left anonymously at or by calling (916) 874-TIPS (8477).