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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The family of 17-year-old Ebonique Farris is still in shock after learning she was shot and killed in North Nashville Sunday afternoon.

Anthony Brooks, 23, is behind bars after reportedly turning himself to police, claiming the shooting stemmed from an argument.

On Monday, Farris’ family asked close friend Sparkle Johnson to speak on their behalf.

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“Ebonique was full of life. She had things to do on this earth. She was a dancer. Oh my God, she was an amazing dancer,” Johnson explained. “The truth of the matter is she didn’t have to die. She was diffusing the situation, regardless, we all argue. No one expects to get shot after an argument or debate or differences of opinion or whatever it was. So, the point is she didn’t have to die.”

According to the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD), gunshot victims ages 13 to 17 are up nearly 79% compared to last year. Farris’ loved ones said that they would like to see more resources for youth. They also asked others to lock their car doors and take their weapons inside.

“There’s going to be more parents burying their children than children burying their parents,” Johnson said. “I fear that they won’t live to see the potential that God has given them. “

Curtis Bryant is one of three pastors who plan to sit down with the mayor next Monday. They will call to fund a “no weapons” program for youth found with weapons or involved in violence.

“Go through education, evaluation, and elevation for that youth getting them to partner with themselves for success,” Bryant explained the program.

He said that Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway had already shown her support for the program and Bryant was optimistic that the mayor would be open to the idea.

Bryant urged the city to invest in community centers for youth the way it once did.

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“In our city, when we said we could not fund community centers, we built a football stadium, and it is right next to the Juvenile Justice Center,” Bryant pointed out.

Bryant said he understood that a new juvenile justice center was being built, but still believed Nashville needed to prioritize spending on Nashville’s youth.

On Monday morning, the chair of the Metro Budget and Finance Committee announced plans to add $1 million to this year’s proposed budget for youth resources. The funding would go towards enhancing local community centers and creating an Office of Youth Safety.

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