City Council President’s granddaughter killed overnight

The granddaughter of Harrisburg City Council President Wanda Williams was killed overnight. Williams said her family remains in disbelief.

Comforting hugs subdued the pain, but did little to erase the heartache for neighbor Ruth McCready.

“She was a good neighbor,” McCready said. “She was a nice girl, very nice girl.”

McCready was close with 18-year-old Tiana Dockens, her next-door neighbor. Early Friday morning, a sobbing McCready explained she heard gunshots and ran downstairs to something she'll never be able to erase in her memory.

“I just came downstairs she was on the porch.”

Harrisburg Police said a fight between a group of guys led to an exchange of gunfire on the 1600 block of Thompson St. around 1 a.m.

Holland Ferrell recounted the violence. “I heard the gunshots,” she said. “Scared me out my sleep…woke me and my kids up. Something I've never experienced before.”

Ferrell said she quickly ran to check on her 8-month-old son. Police said it was 18-year-old Tiana Dockens who was caught in the crossfire and suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the stomach.

Harrisburg's 14th homicide of 2013 comes as a shock, a face with well known ties. City Council President Wanda Williams is Docken's grandmother. Williams spoke with abc27's Dave Marcheskie over the phone and said her granddaughter was the “sweetest girl you'd ever know.”

City Councilwoman Eugenia Smith said she spoke with Williams to offer her condolences and support. Smith said Dockens died at the hospital in her father's arms. Several city leaders said they contacted Williams to do the same.

Mayor Linda Thompson sent out a press release stating she too reached out to Williams. 

“On behalf of the City of Harrisburg, I expressed heartfelt condolences to Ms. Williams earlier today. I spoke with the Council President and she is holding up with great strength under the circumstances, but she is devastated, as we all are, by this tragic event.”

Many are saddened that Dockens' family must spend the holidays without their “good girl”, and are forced to spend Christmas with only memories.

“I can't imagine what her family is going through,” said Ferrell. “This is ridiculous.”

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