Hundreds of people from Lexington’s Winburn Drive community marched Thursday night crying out for justice in the shooting death of a 22-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant.
The march was part of a vigil set up by the family of Maryiah Coleman, who died at 11:38 p.m. Wednesday at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital from a gunshot wound. The vigil ended outside the Matador North Apartments, where Coleman was shot.
Among those marching was Coleman’s mother, Tamara, who beseeched the community to help her family.
“If you saw anything last night, you need to tell the police. I want justice for my daughter,” Tamara cried while holding wreaths of flowers given to her. “And I want justice for my grandson. You need to say something. Don’t stand there in silence. If you do, you’re just as guilty as the person that did it.”
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Coleman’s unborn baby, Jakobe, also died despite emergency room doctors’ efforts, according to the coroner.
During the march, the crowd sang “We Shall Overcome” before chanting “Justice for Maryiah, Justice for Jakobe.”
After the shooting, police increased patrols in the area.
Investigators had only vague descriptions of possible suspects, police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said.
“It’s a very active, fluid investigation,” Angel said.
Investigators don’t yet know how many people were involved in the shooting, Angel said.
“We are looking for any and all suspects; it remains very unclear ... the sequence of events that led up to the shooting last night,” Angel said.
Officers know Coleman lived in the area, Angel said. It is unclear what she was doing or who she was with at the time of the shooting.
“We know the victim’s family have questions, certainly the people that live in the Winburn area have a lot of questions, and we are working to get those answers as quickly as possible,” Angel said.
Investigators encourage anyone who saw or heard anything to contact police, even if they are unsure if their information is related to the shooting, Angel said.
“The bottom line is we know that someone has to know something about this shooting and we need whoever that is to come forward,” Angel said.
Coleman’s death has heightened concern for some Winburn-area residents. Mary Taylor, who lives in a nearby apartment complex, said gunfire has occurred frequently in the neighborhood in recent weeks.
“I was sitting in my living room and talking to my sister and I heard ‘Pow! Pow!’” Taylor said of Wednesday’s shooting. “I said, ‘Oh my God, there it goes again.’”
A lot of children live in the area, and a school bus stop is close to the shooting site. Winburn Middle School sits across the street.
“It’s just sad, and I worry about these children,” Taylor said. “These kids catch the bus right here, and I’m concerned about their welfare. There’s too many children out here for something like that to be going on.”
“I don’t know what’s going on or why they’re doing it,” Taylor said.
The circumstances of Wednesday night’s shooting were particularly disturbing, Angel said.
“I think the fact that we have the victim, a young woman who was expecting, almost to term with her baby, that’s particularly alarming and upsetting to folks,” Angel said. “What I can say is we have a lot of resources, as many resources as possible dedicated to this investigation. We’ve increased patrols in the Winburn area.”
Officers were in the Winburn area for a report of shots fired about 90 minutes to two hours before Coleman was shot, Angel said. It was unclear if the two shootings were related.
“I know people are tired of the violence,” Angel said. “But people who are tired of the violence also need to know that they play a role in making sure that if people have information, they come and talk to police about that, either by giving us a call directly or sending an anonymous tip.”
The deaths of Coleman and her baby overwhelmed her family and friends.
“Maryiah Coleman I’ve never in my wildest dreams pictured you gone,” cousin Neece Scott said on Facebook. “We was gonna grow old together. Our children was gonna always be around each other like we were as kids.”
Coleman was a Tates Creek High School graduate and worked as a customer care assistant at Xerox, according to her Facebook page.
Kelsie L. Wade started a gofundme page for the family to help pay for a “beautiful goodbye” for Coleman and her child. Coleman “was a wonderful young woman,” the page said.
The deaths of Coleman and her infant are the 15th and 16th murders of the year in Lexington, according to police.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact police at 859-258-3600. Anonymous tips, including photos and videos, can be submitted by texting “LEXPD” plus the tip to 274637. Information can also be sent anonymously through Bluegrass Crime Stoppers at 859-253-2020 or Bluegrasscrimestoppers.com.
Staff writer Fernando Alfonso contributed to this report