PALM BEACH, F.L. - President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are wishing Americans a Merry Christmas as they celebrate the holiday with their family in Florida.
“The president and I want to wish each and every American a very merry Christmas,” the first lady said in a video message recorded at the White House and released Wednesday. “We say a special prayer for those military service members stationed far from home and we renew our hope for peace among nations and joy to the world,” Trump said in the message.
The first family is spending the holiday at the president’s private club in Palm Beach, attending a music-filled Christmas Eve service at a Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated church before celebrating with dinner in the ballroom of his private club. They were expected to remain out of sight on Wednesday.
Ja’Naiya was killed six months ago when more than 35 bullets shot through her home in Anderson. One of the bullets cleaved through her shoulder and an artery, causing her to quickly lose a large amount of blood. Police arrived to find the family screaming for help. Ja’Naiya was declared dead less than an hour later. Her 18-year-old sister and 11-year-old cousin were wounded in the shooting and survived.
A 17-year-old was charged with murder in the shooting. Police still are searching for others they believe were involved.
“Someone had to drive him there; someone had to pick him up,” Anderson Police Chief Jim Stewart said in a previous interview with the newspaper. “I’m convinced that there are people who know exactly what happened, exactly who is behind all of this, and they won’t talk.”
Authorities still haven’t recovered the semiautomatic rifle and pistol believed to have been used in the shooting. The investigation is ongoing and authorities are analyzing cellphone records to find a foothold in the case.
Meanwhile, the night that marks Santa’s trek across the sky for many will mark another filled with unrest for Rice.
“It makes you paranoid, you know?” Rice said. “Because you don’t know who is involved, you are always wondering who it might be. I worry about the rest of my family that is still here. Are they safe?”