Eumiyah Thompson wanted to make sure everyone was treated fairly at school, both students and staff alike.
The 17-year-old also was an advocate for conflict resolution among her fellow students at Spartan Academy in Richmond. A member of the student government, Thompson planned to graduate in June.
To her family, she was a playful teenager who loved her nieces, nephews and siblings. Her favorite colors were yellow and blue.
“Eumiyah wanted to be the president of the United States,” said Martrice Mines, one of her sisters. “She could brighten up a room. The way she puts it, she was the life of the party — it wasn’t a party until she was there.”
Shortly after midnight on Dec. 18, Thompson was outside her family’s home in Gilpin Court playing on her iPad, most likely on TikTok, Mines said.
“Some guys came through and were shooting,” Mines said. “She was just an innocent bystander.”
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Thompson and an unidentified man were both shot outside the home she shared with her mother, stepfather and teenage brother in the 1100 block of St. James Street. The man survived his injuries, but Thompson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her oldest brother was the first person to get to her, and she died in his arms, Mines said.
Thompson is one of at least 37 children under age 18 to be shot in Richmond this year, and one of five kids to die from their injuries. Over the past three years, at least 98 children have been shot in the city, 14 of them fatally, according to statistics provided by the Richmond Police Department under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
Thompson’s death has had a huge impact on Spartan Academy, where she was close to many of the staff and other students, said Eric Martin, executive director of the school.
“She was just a great kid,” he said. “She was a very positive young lady. She made the best of every situation.”
Martin said Spartan Academy has lost multiple current or former students to gun violence during each of the six years he has worked there.
“It happens too often,” he said.
Martin said Thompson had a strong sense of fairness. If a staff member asked one student to tuck in the shirt of their school uniform, but another student was getting away with having their shirt untucked, she would speak up. She also expected staff members to tuck in their shirts to set an example.
If Thompson was aware that a conflict had arisen between students, she would let Martin know and advise him to get involved.
“She was very talkative,” he added. “She would talk about any and everything.”
And she loved to eat. If she got upset about something and someone gave her a snack, she’d calm down and talk about what was going on, Martin said.
“Food was her thing,” he said.
As her family mourns her death, they are remembering her positive energy and how she used to chase her siblings around and how they’d chase her, too.
“Eumiyah always had a way of making you feel better, even if you didn’t want to,” Mines said. “It’s not going to be the same without her.”
A vigil is scheduled for Thompson at 4 p.m. Monday near her home in the 1100 block of St. James Street.
On Thursday, a funeral service will be held at Scott’s Funeral Home, 115 E. Brookland Park Blvd.