Every Christmas, Nykea Aldridge’s extended family would gather in a living room on the South Side and host “Night at the Apollo” — a family talent show.
Last year, Aldridge, 32, read poetry she had written. A few years ago, she enlisted nieces and nephews to act out a play she authored. And she shared with relatives her dream of writing a book.
Each year, family members videotaped the festivities and sent a DVD to their famous relative, NBA star Dwyane Wade, who often was playing basketball on the television in the background during the talent showcase.
On Sunday afternoon, family members gathered again, this time for a vigil to mourn and to celebrate Nykea Aldridge at the Willie Mae Morris Empowerment Center, 12900 South Halsted St.
She was killed by a stray bullet Friday afternoon while pushing her infant daughter, Da’Kota, in a stroller in the 6300 block of South Calumet.
“Thank God she was on this Earth for as long as she was to bring joy to our hearts,” said her mother, Diann Aldridge.
“Her life is gone. And she can’t come back. This is my baby girl, just a life that’s gone too soon. She was taken away from us,” her mother said.
Nykea’s fiance, David Harrison, also spoke at the vigil. They hadn’t set the date for a wedding, but planning began to heat up about two weeks ago when Nykea caught the bouquet at a friend’s wedding, her sister said.
About eight months ago, they moved into low-income housing at the Parkway Garden Homes.
“I wish we never moved,” Harrison said at the vigil.
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Wade, who relatives said was not close with Nykea, did not attend the vigil.
Nykea Aldridge was a full-time mother to her four children.
On Sunday, relatives announced a trust fund created to benefit Nykea’s four children: Summer, 12, Sincere, 10, Shavae, 8, and Da’Kota. The infant girl wasn’t injured in the shooting.
Raven Roberts, Nykea Aldridge’s 23-year-old niece, said family members will look after the children.
Roberts shook her head before talking about the two men charged in her aunt’s death, Darwin Sorrells Jr., 26, and his brother Derren Sorrells, 22, both of whom have long criminal records and were out of prison on parole at the time of the shooting.
Each man was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder, Chicago Police said.
“It’s pointless,” Roberts said. “You just did half your life in prison and now you just want to go back and do it all over again for something that can be avoided?”
Wade’s mother, Jolinda Wade, led about 100 people gathered at the service in prayer.
She asked everyone to also pray for the mother of the two men charged with the crime.