Family, friends gather to remember slain Bradenton teen

- For the second time Thursday, family and friends gathered to remember 18-year-old Moriah Goode. She was shot and killed last weekend - the innocent victim of someone else's fight.

Dozens attended a celebration of life in her honor Thursday afternoon, then a candlelight vigil on the Bradenton Riverwalk in the evening.

The family is dealing with one of the biggest tragedies in their lives.  While they are hurt, they are also forgiving the shooter. It's a hard thing to do, but Moriah's mom says she wouldn't have it any other way.

Moriah Goode's family leans on faith to get them through the heartaches.

"It's a bitter pill to swallow, but if people get saved over Moriah, or one life is changed over Moriah dying, to God, angles are rejoicing in heaven,” Moriah’s mother, Jan Goode said.

Moriah was adopted from Haiti, and suffered from Lupus. With the help of her friends and family, she raised $30,000 to pay for stem cell treatments which successfully sent the disease into remission. 

She had written on her GoFundMe page, "Mom and Dad used Hope as my middle name, because one day I will take hope back to the people of Haiti. They never dreamed that they would need hope to find a cure for Lupus when they adopted me."

Moriah was shot and killed Sunday afternoon while in a car with a friend. Deputies say they saw Devon Freeman. Moriah’s friend and Freeman didn't get along. They apparently exchanged words and then Freeman - who was in his car - pulled out a gun and fired off shots.

Deputies say Moriah was an innocent victim and that Freeman was aiming for her friend.

“I pray that the man that did it finds salvation,” Jan Goode said. “I wanna look him in the eye and tell him I forgive him."

The loss has hit the community hard. People of all ages are suffering. Moriah devoted her time to children and was studying to become an EMT like her older brother. 

"It meant a lot to me to have her follow in my footsteps and to have such a heart to help other people and save other lives," Evan McCullah, Moriah’s brother said.

But Moriah's mom has done what so many others would find impossible, she's forgiven freeman. While she wants justice for her daughter, she wants to watch Moriah's kindness live on in others.

"Your life is a domino effect and you either do good things or bad things, and Moriah chose the good things, and chose to help people and love people. I just think many dominos are going to fall over this in a good way," Jan said.

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