'Everything was perfect': Family, classmates remember teen fatally shot in North Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Students and staff members at Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School of Philadelphia were unable to hold back tears Monday morning as they remembered a classmate whose life was cut short over the weekend.

The entire student body was left reeling after learning their friend and student, Ceani Smalls, was the latest victim of gun violence in Philadelphia.

"We'll never get a reason but we just have to continue to keep her memory alive and honor her legacy and everything she meant to all of us," said teacher Sean Snyder.

Authorities said Ceani was getting off a SEPTA bus at 22nd Street and Sedgley Avenue in North Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon when she was shot in the shoulder by a man firing randomly at passengers.

Now, Ceani's father, Dwayne Smalls, is left finalizing her funeral arrangements.

"We don't bury our children. They're supposed to be burying me. Burying me years from now," he said.

Smalls said his daughter made him so proud.

"Everything was perfect. I could ask for nothing more. When you are thinking about your kid, I got everything," he said.

Police later identified the shooter as 41-year-old Robert Jamieson, who was taken into custody shortly after the shooting. Authorities said he was found hiding behind cars in the area.

A gun and at least 14 shell casings were also recovered at the scene.

"I would be willing to bet that he didn't have a permit to carry, and shouldn't have had a gun on the street," Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter said at the scene Saturday.
The District Attorney confirming the fact, after announcing murder charges against Jamieson, who is also a convicted felon, on Sunday afternoon.

Back at the school, students were encouraged to express their emotions over the loss.

"We're all grieving and so we needed to give them an opportunity to say their goodbyes and to grieve as we all do when we lose someone," said Founder and Chief Admin Officer Veronica Joyner.

On Monday night, there was a call to action by non-profits ManupPHL and Big Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence. They have begun training men, with the skills to mentor other men.

"We believe we can stop the violence before it starts if we show men how to be better fathers, how to be better workers and better men," said Solomon Jones of ManUpPHL.

"We've decided to take the initiative ourselves to say we need to grab other black men who feel the same hurt, pain and anger about what's happening in our community. We need to figure out how to channel that in a positive way," said Marcus Allen of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence.

Jamieson is scheduled to be back in court later this month.
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