My daughter, Zarrie Allen, was approximately 80 miles from home, attending Sacramento State and completing her first year of college. Zarrie had dreams of becoming a nurse. We talked about her prospective classes for the following fall semester and how she would take an astrobiology course. We were both jazzed about her outlook on college and how she was growing into adulthood and ready to challenge herself.
Our last communication was on July 20, 2020, at 5:13 p.m. I’d sent Zarrie a text about COVID-19 stats in our home county and told her to be cautious by wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and keeping social distances. A few minutes later, I got a call from Zarrie’s phone, except, it was not Zarrie. There was a trembling, panicky voice on the other end, telling me that something terrible had happened to my daughter and that she might not make it.
Zarrie was shot and killed during a drive-by shooting while she was visiting a gravesite. She was not safe even in a public space such as a cemetery. I never thought my child would be the victim of gun violence or would die before me. No parent should have to bury their child.