MINNEAPOLIS — A security guard at a St. Paul gas station, KG Wilson is distraught over his granddaughter's murder. Aniya Allen was six years old when she was shot near 36th and Penn avenues in north Minneapolis on May 17 this year; the time passing and the seasons changing at her memorial site since then.
"Here we are about to go into a new year with no justice," Wilson said. "I channeled my anger and my hurt and my pain into doing a toy drive called Aniya's Toys and so we gave out about $40,000 worth of toys to the children in north Minneapolis for Christmas. My gift that I wanted was for the killer to turn himself in or somebody who knows the killer, knows what they did, to turn themselves in and it didn't happen."
Young Aniya was one of 96 people killed in Minneapolis in 2021. That's 12 more people than last year. The 2021 total is one short of a particularly violent 1995, when 97 people were killed.
All year, as the numbers rose, community leaders including Wilson stepped up violence prevention efforts. Nearly 20 years ago, he founded Hope Ministries as a peace activist in Minneapolis. Although he moved to St. Paul this year to distance himself from the daily reminders of what happened to his granddaughter, Wilson says he'll continue his work in 2022.
"Even hurt, heartbroken, torn, angry, I'm still a mentor," he said.
KG spent the year doing many interviews calling for justice for his granddaughter and other kids caught in the crossfire. He regularly posts on social media to draw attention to the cause and the reward for information.
"This may be the interview that touches somebody's heart to turn in these people who did this or maybe even touches the heart of the person who has been running, ducking, and dodging since May, afraid to turn themselves in," Wilson said Friday. "This may be the story here on KARE 11 that makes them say, you know what, I'm going to bring the new year in right and I'm going to do the right thing and allow this family to have justice."