Lyon Park shooting victim remembered at vigil
In the pouring rain and darkness of Tuesday night, dozens of people gathered for a vigil at the same place Quaysean Malachi’s life was ended by gunfire. Malachi, 20, was shot and killed Nov. 23 in the parking lot at Lyon Park on Lakewood Avenue.
About 40 people huddled under a dark picnic shelter at the park, the only light a small votive candle and the flashlight from a smartphone.
James Todd, a member of Church of the Holy Family, lives up the street and brings his boys to the Lyon Park playground. He also is a member of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, which sponsors vigils for Durham’s victims of homicide. Todd said the purpose of the vigil was to lift up Malachi’s life and to pray for peace in the city.
Malachi was from Greensboro and graduated from Western Guilford High School. His mother, grandmother, sister and aunt attended the vigil.
Quaysean’s mother, Jada Malachi, said that his smile could light up the darkest room. He never said a cross word to her – it was always “Yes, momma,” or “Yes, ma’am.” On Saturday, she said, they had a balloon release in his honor. The weather was beautiful, Malachi said, and 60 people were there.
“Quaysean has such a sweet spirit,” Malachi said. “He was a beautiful child, and he has a beautiful 4-year-old daughter, Mariah.”
He went to prom every year at Western Guilford High, she said, and played safety on the football team.
“I remember watching him at those games,” Malachi said. “It took time to build up his confidence,” she said, when he started playing in middle school. “Mariah was born when he was a senior. … She would be out there clapping, rooting for her daddy.”
Quaysean Malachi’s death has been so hard, his mother said. It feels like the rug was snatched out from under her, she said. Jada Malachi didn’t know how to tell Mariah that her Daddy’s isn’t here anymore, she said. He was killed a few days before Thanksgiving. Malachi took her granddaughter to look out a window and asked her if she knew where Jesus lived. Malachi pointed up at the sky and talked about heaven.
“Where the angels are?” Mariah asked.
“Yes, baby, where the angels are,” her grandmother said.
Then Malachi explained that sometimes Jesus takes special people to live in heaven, and that’s where her Daddy is. Malachi held her granddaughter close and said that her Daddy is in her heart.
Now Mariah tells her grandmother, who she calls Cookie, that she talks to her Daddy all the time and that he’s a beautiful angel.
“But she’s 4; she doesn’t understand forever,” Malachi said. Malachi said that taking it day by day is too much for her right now – she moves moment by moment. The family chose Psalm 23 to be read by everyone at the vigil. It begins: “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Quaysean Malachi would have turned 21 on Feb. 3.