VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The family of Deshayla Harris said she lived a beautiful life and was always the life of the party.
Her loved ones held a candlelight vigil on 19th Street and Pacific Avenue in Virginia Beach Friday night. Exactly one week earlier, the 28-year-old Norfolk woman was shot and killed in a violent night along the Oceanfront.
“We’re going to have our pain, but we are going to celebrate her life,” said her uncle Teron Artis.
Virginia Beach Police believe she was an innocent bystander struck by a stray bullet.
“She was a beautiful person,” said her younger sister Tikeera Harris.
“She was fun to be around, lively, caring... and always speak her mind to tell you what’s right and wrong,” said her brother, Taquon White.
Lovingly known as a “Shay,” Harris starred on the 17th and final season Oxygen’s "Bad Girls Club" in 2017. But her family says Harris was not like her television persona.
“She hated when people would come to her and say, ‘Oh you are the girl from the Bad Girls Club,’” said her sister, Tikeera Harris.
“She was not a Bad Girl,” said her mother, Elisheba Harris. “She was not an aggressive person.”
Elisheba said she planned to launch a beauty store with her daughter. She still plans to open “Shay’s Beauty Bar” and offer skincare and products in Deshayla’s honor. The family said Harris was attending beauty school and had worked at a Da Notty Roots, a natural hair salon, in Norfolk. Her former coworker left her chair open with flowers and cards.
“She just always had great energy and a smile,” said Kenesha Lee. “Even when I would say, ‘You are beautiful, girl!’ She would say, ‘You are beautiful, too.’”
Harris’ family wants justice and answers in her death. They expressed concerns with the level of communication with the Virginia Beach Police Department in the investigation.
Police have not released any information on suspects regarding Harris’ death; though suspects have been arrested for another shooting that took place in the vicinity that night.
Her mother also claimed she learned of her daughter’s death from an officer on Facetime video.
They shared their condolences for the family of Donovon Lynch, who was shot and killed by a Virginia Beach police officer around the same time and less than 500 feet from where Harris was killed, and for all of the other victims and their families.
They want anyone with information to come forward to bring justice for their relative.
“Speak up,” said her mother, Elisheba Harris. “I lost something that someone can never give me back. Live with it. I have to live with. Be honest.”