At a Wilmington town hall meeting Monday, police chief Bobby Cummings assured the family and friends of Amy Inita Joyner-Francis that justice would be served in the death of the Delaware teen. Cummings says charges are expected to be filed against the girls who brutally beat and ultimately killed the 16-year-old in a bathroom fight at the Howard High School of Technology last week.
“We hope to have some closure by the end of this week,” Cummings told the nearly 100 people in attendance at the meeting held at Stubbs Elementary School.
USA Today reports that charges haven’t been filed, but the police department and the state Office of the Attorney General have identified three persons of interest involved in the brawl. Few details have been released about the deadly assault, and police have yet to determine a motive. There is an ongoing investigation into the incident, as authorities sift through social media posts, call logs and witness interviews.
“We did not want to rush to judgment,” Cummings said. “We would rather take our time to conduct this investigation the proper way. Charges will be filed, and individuals will be held accountable for their actions.”
Per USA Today, many of those who attended Monday’s meeting were adults and members of the Wilmington community who urged parents to take charge and discipline their kids to deter them from violence.
“It is important to teach our younger siblings and little kids not to fight,” said Howard High sophomore Alexandrea Rogers, who was a close friend of Amy’s. “We shouldn’t have waited for this tragedy to happen; we should have just loved each other from the start.”
Some community members left the meeting with a sense of hope while others left with more unanswered questions.
“No one is giving us answers,” parent Qawi Muhammad told WPVI-TV.
The ABC affiliate spoke with another student who says a lot of “people are talking and no one is moving” to address the situation. WPVI-TV also asked Patti Daily Lewis of the Beau Biden Foundation if the situation could have been avoided altogether.
“I think all these things could be prevented if we talk about it before it happens,” Lewis said.
Vice President Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden, was in attendance at the meeting because the news of Amy’s death “shook her to her core,” USA Today reports. Biden, a victim of bullying herself, also said she is encouraged to work with other organizations to create peer mentoring at Delaware schools so students can have an outlet to discuss their issues.
“This is really, in my mind, creating those safe spaces for our community,” she said.
Since Amy’s death, a number of fraudulent fundraising pages have popped on up social media. Amy’s brother, Anthony Joyner, released a statement via the Wilmington Police to warn of the “many sick people out in the world who want to gain money and social fame off my family’s loss,” according to ABC 7 Chicago. Joyner says he is the only one in his family with a social media account and confirms no one has started an online fundraising page
“They are fake pages and accounts [and] are spreading hateful lies, so please do not lose your money or entertain the lies of these cruel people,” he said in the statement.
Joyner went on to thank the Wilmington community for their love and support and directed those who wanted to make a contribution to donate their funds to the Congo Funeral Home in Wilmington.