The day after Payton Benson was shot to death, a heavy police presence softened the violent fabric of the neighborhood where the deadly gunfire erupted on Wednesday morning.
Yellow crime scene tape was gone. Now comes the healing.
The shot that missed its intended mark traveled for a city block before cutting through the home where Payton had just finished her breakfast - a shot that ended the five-year-old’s life.
That was just one bullet in a barrage of gunfire. Police believe there were three men involved and perhaps three weapons fired.
Raymond Butler lives in the area and he said, “When we came home and got in the house, went upstairs - it’s a hole in the wall. If someone had been home, someone would have got hurt because most of the time we sit on the bed.”
Payton’s next-door neighbor, Sheila Bradley told us, “It’s so hard sometimes to embrace your neighbor but this family was not hard to love at all.”
Her dog Maddie loved to play with Payton. Shelia said her pet knows something is wrong; someone is missing. “This dog truly loved Payton,” she said. “Never seen anything like it.”
It will be difficult for the neighborhood to recover but the good people who live there believe things will get better because now there’s someone watching over from a better place.
“A five-year-old child has no sins. So I believe she has her wings on right about now.”
A day after the chaos; a day after the murder of a child, some neighbors remained fearful, awaiting the arrest of a killer.