Woman organizes anti-violence event after best friend’s death

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —Hundreds and hundreds of pictures.

They are the only thing Aaliyah Smith has left to remember her boyfriend Eric Niles.

“He was fun. Had a smart mouth, liked to eat. He played football at Craigmont. He had a recent birthday on May 4th.”

Niles and Derrick Pendergrass, 21, were killed back in May during an attempted robbery in the 2100 block of Westchester Circle in northeast Memphis.

Smith said Niles and Pendergrass were fighting over a gun. According to police, Niles was robbing Pendergrass when they started to struggle over the gun. Both were killed.

Smith never imagined she would lose her best friend and that’s exactly why she set out to organize an anti-violence event for the Memphis community.

“We have water slides, snow cone machines, bouncers. We`re going to have free food, backpack giveaways with school supplies.”

Her message is simple: stop the violence.

“Stay in school, don`t always reach out to the streets. It`s other options. Talk to somebody before you do something. It`s other options to get money.”

“If he was here what would say to him or tell him?”

“He was wrong. He shouldn’t have never did that. I felt like he knew better.”

The event will be held this Saturday at Treadwell High School on the field from noon until 5 p.m.

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