Story Summary

Remembering Aaliyah

A Lancaster County family grieves the loss of 10 year old Aaliyah Boyer.  She died from a stray bullet fired during a New Year’s Eve celebration in Maryland.  People living in Manheim are coming together to support the family and remember Aaliyah.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 4 updates

Family members of Aaliyah Boyer, 10, who was killed by celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Day, hope to prevent other families from suffering a similar tragedy.

Aaliyah was known for her bright smile, bright clothes and even brighter personality.

She was watching New Year’s fireworks with relatives in Maryland, when she was struck in the head by a stray bullet of celebratory gunfire. Aaliyah died two days later.

For her family in Manheim, Lancaster County, where she lived all her life, the world has been turned upside down.

“It’s been really difficult,” said Kayla Lindsey, Aaliyah’s 12-year-old sister. “She used to get scared and lay in my bed at night, but now, she’s not there.”

Detectives at the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office still haven’t found the person who fired the fateful shot.

With a petition on, Aaliyah’s family is urging the President and Congress to pass a federal law banning celebratory gunfire and call it “Aaliyah’s Law.”

“Since Aaliyah passed away, if this happened to other kids it would just be a tragedy,” Lindsey said.

The petition needs at least 100,000 signatures in order to be reviewed. As of Tuesday night, it had a little more than 100. But Kayla Lindsey is holding out hope.

“If you have an internet or anything, we ask you to sign it because it’s really important to the family and to the community,” she said. “I think it’ll be a big benefit.”

Aaliyah’s family is still working to pay off her funeral and is also hoping the community can help them give their little girl the headstone she deserves.

“She had meant a lot to us,” said Aaliyah’s grandfather Richard Lindsey. “She was such a pretty girl. We want something nice for her. We want to get a nice headstone for her, because she struck a lot of lives.”

To help the family pay for the headstone, you can donate to the Aaliyah Boyer Fund at any Susquehanna Bank branch.

A vigil was held in Lancaster County Saturday night for a little girl who was accidentally shot and killed New Year’s Day.

Aaliyah Boyer was watching fireworks with her mother in Maryland shortly early Tuesday when a bullet hit her in the top of the head. Police said someone nearby fired the “celebratory shot” into the air shortly after midnight.

“Very sad, very sad. Sometimes hard to wrap around my mind, and of course try to figure out why,” said Beth Ern, a friend of the family who attended the vigil.

Ern was one of several people who came to the square in Manheim Saturday night to share support and stories about Aaliyah.

“It’s really hard, and you just kind of ask, ‘why?’ You just don’t understand,” said Sarah Lee, who came out Saturday night.

Aaliyah’s family plans to donate her organs. No arrests have been made in connection with her death.

Remembering Aaliyah Boyer

The Manheim, Lancaster County community is rallying around the family of Aaliyah Boyer, 10, who died after being hit by celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Day.

“She was just such a darling child, and she loved everybody and I’m just really going to miss her,” said Bengie Lindsey, Aaliyah’s maternal grandmother.

For Lindsey and her husband, Richard, losing their granddaughter, who they’ve raised since she was a baby, is just too deep to describe. Aaliyah died Thursday, two days after she was shot in the head by a stray bullet near Elkton, Md. She was outside watching New Year’s fireworks with relatives, including her mother and older sister Kayla Lindsey.

“People shouldn’t be shooting guns up in the air, because she’s a really special girl and she shouldn’t have died so young,” Kayla Lindsey said.

Aaliyah’s extended church family at Manheim Brethren in Christ Church, where she attended services twice a week, is now doing all it can to see her family through this devastating loss.

“Over the next few weeks and months, they’re going to have a lot to deal with and process, so they’re going to need the community to surround them and we as a church body and community want to do that for them,” said Youth Pastor Corby Burkholder.

The church is accepting donations for Aaliyah’s family to help cover the funeral and other expenses. Anyone who wants to d0nate can send a check with Aaliyah’s name in the note.

“I appreciate all the support, from the family, right down to the community,”  said Bengie Lindsey.

Though their granddaughter is no longer with them, the Lindseys are comforted by the fact that other children will live thanks to the final gifts she has left behind.

“She was looking at my license, the one day, and it says ‘donor’ on it and she asked me what a ‘donor’ was,” Bengie Lindsey said. “And I explained to her what a donor is and she thought it was the greatest thing in the world, and I knew that this is what she would want.”

A candlelight vigil for Aaliyah is scheduled for Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Manheim Square. The public is invited to attend.

Those wishing to donate to Aaliyah’s family can send a check to Manheim Brethren in Christ Church: 54 North Penryn Road  Manheim, PA 17545

A Lancaster County girl is dead after being shot in the head by a bullet fired during a New Year’s celebration. Ten year old Aaliyah Boyer from Manheim, was hit while watching fireworks outside a relative’s home in Cecil County, Maryland just minutes after midnight. Family members say she collapsed and they realized she had a bullet in the top of her head. She was taken to A.I. Dupont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, where she was pulled off of life support late Thursday morning.  We didn’t know what happened. We thought she passed out and hit her head,” said her aunt Ashleigh Rice.  “To fire a gun for a celebratory reason is just a terrible, horrible idea and incidents like this can happen,” said Lt. Michael Holmes of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office. Police are trying to figure out who fired the shot. They are currently following  up on tips, and interviewing neighbors.