A South Bay city has a new plan to honor a young girl in hopes of sending a message about gun violence.
The city of Morgan Hill will soon place a statue of 14-year-old Tara Romero outside its council chambers. Tara was killed four years ago in a drive-by shooting while she waited for a ride home after a birthday party in November 2011.
Tara was caught in the crossfire of what police called a gang-related shooting. She died at the scene.
Her father, Joseph Romero, has spent years fighting for justice and to honor his daughter. As he battled with depression following Tara's death, he came up with an idea to have a statue made of her, spending thousands of dollars to make it a reality.
"It became a challenge and then kind of got me out of bed, too," Joseph Romero said.
The statue is expected to be completed by spring, and now, the Morgan Hill City Council has decided to place it front and center, right between city hall and city council chambers in a new area deemed the "demonstration garden" being built next month.
"While it does represent Tara Romero, it also is a good reminder of any child in our community and making sure we are committed to maintaining that safety," said Community Services Supervisor Jennie Tucker.
The statue will also have a plaque explaining what happened to Tara, with the hope of spreading a message of peace through the city and region.
"I just hope all this has a positive effect on the community," Joseph Romero said.
Joseph Romero, who now lives in Fresno, said he's happy Tara's memory will live on in Morgan Hill and that the city will use this open space to help fill his empty heart.