Pink balloons were released at a candle light vigil Monday in Escambia County, Florida for 3-year-old Cherish Jackson, who was shot and killed by her father, before he turned the gun on himself.
In what police have described as a murder-suicide, Jackson was shot in the head by her father, Terrence Jackson, outside her home Saturday afternoon just as he arrived to take her to the store, the Pensacola News Journal report.
“He was just here on his daughter’s birthday,” the neighbor told the station. “He didn’t have a gun then. I think he came over with this already planned. Why else would you bring a gun?”
“Cherish ran out to the car crying, ‘Daddy, Daddy,’” one neighbor who witnessed the tragedy told WEAR-TV. “She was all happy to see him.”
The child’s parents were separated and Jackson often visited his daughter at her mother’s home and would take her to a nearby store. However, on this fatal day, Jackson, 22, picked the child up and walked about 100 yards with her before he pulled out a gun and shot Cherish twice in the head, PEOPLE reports.
“I know he said something to Cherish right before he shot her because I saw her look up at him,” a neighbor told WEAR-TV. “That image of her looking at him is etched into my mind forever.”
Jackson turned the gun on himself. According to the report, Escambia County deputies pronounced him dead on the scene, while Cherish, who was still alive, was and transported to a nearby hospital. She succumbed to her injuries the following day.
Neighbors told WEAR-TV Jackson had been over at Cherish’s mother’s home recently.