Ciara Savage was probably shot in the back while trying to protect her little sister, a family spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Ciara Savage was probably shot in the back while trying to protect her little sister, a family spokeswoman said Tuesday. (Submitted)

Iyana Savage was laughing and playing outside with her old 9-year-old sister, Ciara, when a red car pulled up in the 500 block of South Duke Street and a man jumped out and opened fire.

After the shots stopped, 6-year-old Iyana found her sister facedown on the sidewalk, bleeding and moaning.

In talking with Iyana and piecing together what happened at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in York, some family members believe Ciara made the ultimate gesture of love and took a bullet in the back to shield Iyana.

"The last thing Ciara said to Iyana was, 'Help me . . . help me,'" family friend and spokeswoman Melody Savage said Tuesday.

Ciara and Iyana were visiting family in York on Sunday when Ciara was killed.

Ciara's family and friends continue to gather to share memories, love and support, Savage said. People are stopping by the family's home in Lancaster with food, to help with the cooking and cleaning, and to share words of comfort.

After two days of being in a daze and sobbing, Ciara's mother, Jasmine Vadell, finally came out of her bedroom to make funeral arrangements, Savage said. Vadell is trying to be strong for the family and her other children.

She is particularly worried about Iyana, who worshipped Ciara, Savage said.

Ciara was the older sister. She picked out Iyana's clothes and helped dress her for school. She made sure Iyana brushed her teeth and ate breakfast before walking hand-in-hand with her to Ross Elementary School in Lancaster.


She made sure Iyana did her homework. She protected Iyana. She loved Iyana.

Since her sister's murder, Iyana has been wearing Ciara's shoes and refuses to take them off.

"You can see Iyana is lost without her. It breaks your heart," Savage said.

Losing Ciara hurts, Savage said. But family members are particularly struggling with why, she said.

Police said Ciara was an innocent victim caught in a feud between members of rival city gangs -- the "South Siders" and a crew from the Parkway projects. The Sunday shooting was in retaliation for a Parkway member being beaten up by a South Sider at a bar in York early that morning, police said.

"Losing her in any way would have been devastating. But to lose her in this senseless, stupid tragedy is really heartbreaking. She didn't deserve this," said Savage, a 25-year-old nurse.

Everyone loved Ciara, Savage said. She was an amazing girl with natural beauty. She did well in school and was very mature for her age while not losing her girlish innocence. She loved to sing and dance and make people smile.

"She was very theatrical. She was a little diva. She had an incredibly warm personality and would go out of her way to make sure you were smiling," Savage said.

Nigel Maitland
Nigel Maitland (Submitted)

"I am so grateful for every moment with had with her. She was an amazing light in this family."


The Ciara Savage Memorial Fund

100 E. King St., Lancaster PA 17602

Contributions may also be made at any PNC Bank branch


Nigel A. Maitland, 19, of the 600 block of Smith Street in York, is being held without bail in York County Prison on homicide charges.

York City Police said they are looking for a second shooter. Click here for an interactive map of York County homicides.