MINNEAPOLIS - On a vacant lot in the 2600 block of Colfax in north Minneapolis, crowds came Sunday to cut a cake without candles and celebrate a birthday without a boy.
"Today would have been Terrell's fourth birthday," said Marsha Mayes. "I am encouraging the killer to turn himself in today. That would be the best gift ever."
Her son was killed by a wayward bullet that pierced the walls of her second story home, just a day after Christmas in 2011.
"We are saying Happy Birthday to a life that will never get the chance to flourish," said VJ Smith, of the group MAD DADS. "I will never ever forget all the people that sat here, all the people that cried, all the people that mourned over a baby they didn't even know."
The scene has not changed seven months later. The reward leading to a killer stands at more than $11,000. Terrell is featured on local billboards but still no tips point to a shooter.
"People know who did it, know exactly who did it, but they won't come forward," Smith said.
Other community leaders came to speak out, including Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels, KG Wilson of Hope Ministries and Zach King, a local rapper who wrote a song about Terrell.
"I lost my son, he was seven years old. It touched my heart and I had to write a song about it," said King.
Mayes has moved away with her three sons - ages 12, 11 and 2 - but says she still returns to 26th and Colfax every day to search for her son's killer. She says her 2-year-old keeps asking for his brother.
"I will remember him as a favorite brother," said 12-year-old Ezra Mayes. "It is his day. He should be here celebrating."
Mayes and her sons released birthday balloons into the sky, with a song and skyward plea.
"I am positive somebody knows something," she said.
Mayes says she joined a church on her son's birthday and started a neighborhood group to combat the violence, AAC, which stands for "African American Conscience."
"His spirit still lives in me every day."An accident is an accident. I can accept it. It's God's work," she said.
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