KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Family and friends came together Wednesday at the Change Center to remember Janaria Muhammad, who was shot and killed Feb. 16.
The 15-year-old Austin-East student is one of three teens to be shot to death in the last month.
Family and close friends of Janaria say the thing she will be remembered for the most is her smile.
“Janaria had so much energy and she was full of life and joy,” Gail Nevels-Padgett, Janaria’s aunt, said.
Janaria’s dance team was present at the funeral and performed a special tribute dance in her honor. Her dance coaches spoke about how dedicated she was to every activity she participated in.
“She always had positive energy and positive vibes and always brought something positive to the team,” dance coach Launa Cole said.
Janaria’s death has cast a shadow of grief over this community, but in turn, sparked conversations for change and plans for action.
“For her to be 15 years old and all the love and support that has been poured out is amazing. It’s been amazing and it shows what can be done. But unfortunately it takes tragedy to make change,” Padgett said.
Some of that change is already taking place, from security adjustments at Austin-East, to the city of Knoxville pouring more funding into combatting violence.
The investigation into Janaria’s murder remains ongoing.