SACRAMENTO — Candles were lit and voices were raised Wednesday in honor of a life that just one day prior was still lighting up the worlds of those around her.
“The way he took my baby, that was not right. I don’t wish that on no one,” said Ebony Douglas, Dajha Richards’ mother. “I feel so empty, I feel so lost. I feel drained. I don’t know what to do.”
Douglas was at a loss about the death of her 19-year-old daughter, who was shot and killed in her South Sacramento home while Douglas was driving there Tuesday morning.
“I just feel more mad at myself,” Douglas said. “I feel like I should have been here protecting her.”
Richards’ 12-year-old brother tried to do just that. He was too traumatized to speak on Wednesday but his mother described what she now knows her second child did for her first.
“She looked at him and told him don’t let her die. He did everything,” Douglas said. “He placed his hand on her chest. He tried all he could to really save his sister.”
But she couldn’t be saved from her wounds.
Loved ones say her death was the result of an abusive relationship with 20-year-old Damion Horton, Richards’ boyfriend of three years and the father of her 4-month-old son, Kash.
The infant was in the house when Richards’ brother says Horton came over under the pretense of visiting his son. He is suspected of shooting Richards in the garage and taking off.
With sheriff’s deputies hunting him as a murder suspect, Horton turned himself in Wednesday. His mother is also under arrest on suspicion of accessory after the fact.
According to Richards’ relatives, the young mother was trying to leave him. They had seen bite marks on her and other evidence of his threats to not let anyone else have her.
“She would always hide the bruises or whatever,” said Richards’ grandmother, Lorrie Johnson.
Johnson lost a cousin to abuse.
“I just want to let anybody know if you’re dealing with domestic violence don’t stay,” Douglas said. “That’s not love. She wanted out but she was afraid.”
The grandmother had talked to Horton about his behavior with Richards, whom she called her baby.
“I would have took the bullets, you know,” she said. “She’d be still here. I’d rather for me to be gone, not my grandbaby.”
Richards’ whole family was planning to move from the home where she was killed because she felt it was too accessible to a boyfriend who made her feel unsafe.
If you would like to help with the unexpected funeral expenses for Richards, a GoFundMe campaign has been established for her.