The family of Dominique Oglesby ought to be preparing for her college graduation from Penn State's Harrisburg campus in May.
Instead, they are making plans for her funeral.
Oglesby, 23, a senior home from school on spring break, was killed Sunday afternoon following an argument with an unknown female patron inside Galaxy West Bar & Grill at 52nd and Market Streets in West Philly. She had attended church earlier that day and had stopped at the lounge, which is known for its food, to get something to eat when she and another woman had some sort of disagreement.
"The altercation turned physical, from what I understand," said Jennifer Willis, Oglesby's aunt and a Philadelphia police officer in a Facebook text message. "At some point the other young lady had her male friend (possible boyfriend) come to her aid. That male, from what I was told, was physical with my niece."
At one point, Oglesby called her mother, Danielle Shaw-Oglesby, to inform her of what was happening, Willis said. Her mother advised her to remain inside until her father, Fareed Oglesby, 42, arrived. Since they live at 59th and Christian Streets, it didn't take them long to get there. After her father and her grandfather Stephen Bass, 66, showed up, Oglesby went outside to meet them and said, "Dad, that's him."
The father reportedly advanced on the assailant, striking him, and "he started to run away. And as he's running," Willis said, "my brother-in-law is chasing him, and he's firing. Just shooting."
Dominique Oglesby was shot in the back and transported by police to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 4:42 p.m. Her father was shot in a foot and has been released from the hospital. Her grandfather was shot in an arm and as of Monday evening was still hospitalized. Through Willis, the family spokeswoman, both declined to be interviewed.
No arrests have been made. Police have interviewed some witnesses but request that more come forward.
I hope they will.
From everything people have told me, what happened at Galaxy on Sunday was out of character for Oglesby. She was someone special. An honors student with an eye toward a modeling and singing career, she wasn't the type to get into scuffles.
I've been reading the beautiful tributes on Facebook from teachers at the now-shuttered Lamberton High School who had her in their classes, and from others who knew her. Hers was a bright light that was extinguished way too soon, which is why I wanted to make sure that all of Philly realizes what a loss her death is.
"She's gorgeous. It could have been that she walked in, and they looked at her like, 'Well, who are you?" Willis speculated. "We don't know. The sad thing is, we'll never know unless somebody that was there speaks up."
"We don't know if this was somebody that she knew or had a run-in with before," she continued. "We have no idea. Everything right now is everybody speculating what it could have been."
The oldest of three, her family called her "KiKi." She was especially close to her mother. She was scheduled to graduate — her family says with honors — this spring. On what turned out to be her last day alive, Oglesby attended services at Paradise Baptist Church at 47th and Woodland Streets.
"She was a beautiful woman inside and out, and loved attending church. She was a songwriter, designer, model, and had such a lovely voice and had so much coming for her future," Khaleena Prescott, one of Oglesby's friends, told me in an email. "Earlier in the day of March 18th, she went to church with my family and a prayer was spoken for her. We later received a phone call and no one could actually believe what happened."
The family is distraught and begging for witnesses to come forward. Surely someone knows the assailant. After all, the shooting happened in broad daylight. Surely there are plenty of eyewitnesses to the struggle between the gunman and Oglesby's dad, followed by his running away.
If you have information about this case, call Homicide at 215-686-3334.
"There's no way, if you have a heart, that you're sleeping at night knowing that you could help catch the person who did this to her and you're not saying anything," Willis said. "If this was your baby, wouldn't you want somebody to speak up?"