Two weeks after her little girl was killed by a stray bullet while sitting at the breakfast table, Tabatha Manning says she's at peace.
“There is no anger,” Manning said Wednesday, hours after authorities filed charges in the Jan. 15 slaying. “That would hold me back from doing what I need to do for my other children.”
Payton Benson, 5, was eating with her mother and brother when she was struck by a bullet from a gunbattle about a block away.
One man has been charged with first-degree murder; another with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Four other men face charges related to the investigation.
Manning and City Councilman Ben Gray, a relative of Payton's, held a brief press conference hours after learning of the charges.
Manning called the men, who range in age from 18 to 22, “children themselves.” All six reportedly have gang ties.
She said she has words for the six but “would actually like to save that for them.”
Gray said that while the family was thankful for the charges, the reality of what happened remained the same.
“Payton is gone,” he said.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine and Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer lauded detectives' work in trying to pinpoint who fired the shot that killed Payton.
“These arrests are the product of a community that has stepped forward to assist law enforcement, coupled with gang and homicide detectives who have worked tirelessly to solve this case,” Schmaderer said Wednesday.
Willie Barney, head of the Empowerment Network, urged the public to provide tips to police so more gang-related cases are solved.
“It's a really encouraging sign to the family and the community,” Barney said. “When you do step up and step forward, it allows the Police Department to do what they need to do.”
A fundraiser will be held Feb. 6 at Famous Dave's, 7051 Ames Ave. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the restaurant will donate its profits to Payton's family.