Police on Saturday identified the 8-year-old girl who was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Friday in West Philadelphia as Jayanna Powell.
The little girl was crossing the intersection at 63rd Street and Lansdowne Avenue, at the border with Overbrook, at about 3:15 p.m. when she was hit by a car. She was walking in the crosswalk, police said. The driver fled the scene.
Her mother, Ayeshia Poole, told CBS3 Saturday through tears: "I called her Mommy's angel and now she really is an angel. That was my baby, my heart – and she's gone! She's gone."
The mother said Jayanna was walking home from school with three siblings, one of them her 12-year-old brother, who was holding her hand.
"My oldest son got knocked over from the impact. He was holding her hand – they were crossing the street," the mother told CBS3. The brother, who was also hit, suffered minor injuries, the mother said.
The Philadelphia School District said Jayanna was a second-grader at the Lewis C. Cassidy elementary school at 6523 Lansdowne Ave. Her brother is a sixth-grader at the school, the district said.
"The entire School District of Philadelphia grieves the passing of one of our beloved students, Jayanna Powell," the district said in a statement. "We send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the family, friends and entire Cassidy school community in this time of great need. The School District will continue to cooperate with the Philadelphia Police Department as they continue their investigation."
FOX29 reported there will be a community gathering at 63rd and Lansdowne at 4 p.m. Saturday to remember Jayanna.
Jayanna was taken by medics to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in critical condition, where she was pronounced dead shortly afterward.
An aunt of the little girl told FOX29 outside CHOP on Friday: "Whoever did this, I want you to know that you're causing my family a great deal of pain. She's the happiest little girl ever. She has manners. She's sweet. She's always happy, always laughing."
"You took our princess from us," the aunt said. "Our princess. She's gone now."
A grandfather of the girl said the family heard Jayanna was thrown "20 feet in the air." "We understand accidents happen, but now you just killed an 8-year-old child," he told FOX29.
Police are still searching for the driver of the car, believed to be a gray or silver Nissan Altima or Maxima, which fled south on 63rd Street.