February 28, 2012
A new mural is in the works at Clark Elementary School to honor 29-year-old Dawn Reddick.
“She was such a shining light and greeted everyone with her enthusiasm,” visual arts teacher Aaron Eichorst said of the third-grade teacher. “A lot of the things that we’re doing this year are ways of remembering her, honoring her and mourning her loss.”
Reddick was shot on July 29, 2011 hundreds of miles from her Charlottesville home, the unintended target of a drive-by shooting in her hometown of Newark, NJ. She died from her injuries a day later.
“The matter has been a very high priority for our office,” acting Essex County prosecutor Carolyn Murray said during a Skype interview with CBS19. “It remains an open, uncharged case.”
Murray says Reddick and her family are well-known in the northern New Jersey community. “We talk about role models so frequently - here’s a young woman who was teaching third grade and was a productive role model who students looked up to,” she said.
Three others were injured in the shooting, including a 7-year-old girl grazed in the leg by a bullet. According to witness reports, the child could have been more severely injured if it wasn't for Reddick, who shielded her and took the fatal bullet.
“It’s not, however, [a case] that’s unknown to us or unfamiliar territory to us. We continue to pursue the methods that we use in these cases to develop leads,” Murray explained.
The prosecutor’s office has released a photo of a white Honda Civic (see it here) they say is likely connected with the shooting, and says all tips, even those from as far away as Charlottesville, are important. Murray says her office is not going to lose sight of this cold case.
“Her memory is alive and well up here. And again, our focus in on seeing some measure of justice, but she has not been and will not be forgotten,” the prosecutor said of Reddick.
And that memory is alive in Charlottesville, too. Reddick’s impact will remain in the halls of Clark Elementary forever thanks to Eichorst and the visual arts department.
“Hopefully, this [mural] will stand as a reminder for those who knew her that we can walk through this space and remember her, but also that this will go beyond the people that knew her,” he said.
The school is seeking paint donations to complete the mural, which should be finished by the end of the school year.
Also, anyone with information that could help Newark Police is asked to call the Essex County prosecutor’s office at 877-847-7432.