NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The father of a teenager who was shot and killed at an unauthorized concert in the Deas Hill community spoke out publicly for the first time on Friday.
Police say at least 14 people were shot, including 14-year-old Ronjanea Smith, during what they called an unannounced and unauthorized concert event within the North Charleston neighborhood the night of May 22nd.
Smith did not survive the shooting.
Her father, Ronald Smith, said this week has been devastating and that he still cannot believe what happened.
“When I got the phone call at 10, probably like 10:30 p.m., I got the phone call and I said it can’t be real. It can’t be real. It can’t be real – that’s not true… I came running,” he said.
The large party where his daughter was killed and 14 others were injured after shots were fired stemming from a fight near the stage happened right down the street from his house in a large empty lot in the Deas Hill subdivision.
“You know, I’m thinking a gunshot wound to the leg, you can make it,” he said.
But he saw with his own eyes that she would not have been able to recover.
“For me, to watch them pump her 26 times trying to get a pulse back in her body, it hurt me every second, every second,” Smith said.
He went on to say, “I’ve got my own business. I can’t even go to work. I can’t really think. Every time I look at my daughter’s pictures, it breaks me down.”
Smith says his mind keeps going back to things he could do prior to last Saturday’s shooting. “Daddy, I want these shoes, I want everything- you know, she liked to dress up,” he recalled. “She was looking to be a nice model. She was a great daughter.”
Smith now wants to run his daughter’s death into something positive.
“We’re going to start a foundation for her. We’ll have all the kids that will be ‘troubled kids’ and try to pull them off the streets,” he said.
He’s also working with some friends on the project.
“The name of the foundation is going to be the Beautiful Ronjanae Smith Positive Vibes Ending the Gun Violence,” he said.
The purpose is to help steer young people onto the right track in their life in the hopes of preventing tragedies like this.
“She just loved to dress up. She loves to take pictures. We’ve got so [many] pictures of her, she just loved everything. A beautiful young lady, beautiful.”
The community is holding a candlelight vigil on Friday at 8:00 p.m. at the site of the shooting. Her funeral is planned for Tuesday.
Investigators with the North Charleston Police Department are still investigating both the shooting and the unauthorized concert. No suspects have been identified.