When Claudia Quaatey was only 14 years old, she took the bold decision of starting her own hair braiding business right from her home in New York. Her motivation was to support herself financially as she planned to pursue nursing school.
According to Claudia’s mother, Marian Abbey, Claudia had her life meticulously planned out, and her dream was to attend Howard University. “She knew what she was going to do tomorrow,” her mother said, emphasizing Claudia’s determination and drive.
Despite her young age, Claudia displayed an impressive level of commitment towards her future.
In Jamaica, Queens, she had transformed her basement into an exclusive hair braiding section where numerous clients would come to get their hair done. Her exceptional skills were in high demand, but to avoid conflict with her academic pursuits, her parents had to intervene and set some limits on the amount of time she spent on her side business.
Even as a high school sophomore, she had a clear plan in mind. She was already setting aside money for a car, so she could move to Washington, DC and attend her dream school, the prestigious historically Black university.
Abbey expressed that she wouldn’t alter anything about Claudia. She acknowledged that Claudia wasn’t flawless, but Claudia was precisely what she had hoped for.
Unfortunately, Claudia’s hopes and aspirations of attending Howard University, becoming a nurse, purchasing her first car, and fulfilling her desire to contribute to her parents’ homeland of Ghana will never come to fruition.
According to the New York Police Department, on the night of May 10, a tragic incident occurred in the Queens neighborhood of St. Albans. Claudia, a 16-year-old, was sitting in the back seat of a car when she was shot in the head. As per a law enforcement official who has knowledge about the case, Claudia was shot once.
According to Claudia’s mother who spoke to CNN, Claudia had originally planned to braid a friend’s hair that evening. Tragically, she never got the chance as she passed away in a hospital the following day, as confirmed by the authorities.
According to the police, a teenager was shot by one of three individuals who were wearing face masks and hooded sweatshirts. After the shooting, the perpetrator fled the scene on foot. About a month later, the NYPD shared a surveillance video of the trio walking on a sidewalk on social media, asking for the public’s assistance in providing any information. The post offered a reward of up to $10,000 for any helpful details. As of now, there have been no arrests made, and the investigation is still ongoing, according to a law enforcement official who spoke with CNN.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, Claudia was one of the tragic 1,300 children and teenagers who lost their lives to gun violence in the US so far this year. Shockingly, guns have become the primary cause of death among children in America, as per the federal data of 2020. The situation is alarming and calls for immediate attention and action.
Claudia’s father is still grappling with the tragic loss of his daughter and the senseless act of gun violence that took her life.
Albert Quaatey expressed his immense emotional distress caused by the situation he is facing, stating that it feels like a never-ending nightmare. He shared how he wakes up every day feeling empty and how he cannot help but cry every single day.
As she prepares to leave the house, her father can’t help but imagine the sight of her beaming smile as she waves goodbye.
He commented that she was always wearing a smile, which was one of her most striking characteristics. He also lamented that she had a bright future ahead of her but was tragically denied the chance to live it.
Claudia, a compassionate and caring individual, was born in New York City to Christian Ghanaian parents. From a young age, she demonstrated a strong inclination to assist others, which is why she pursued a career in nursing.
As a frequent visitor to her parents’ homeland in West Africa, she made it a point to give back to the community by donating clothes and shoes to children in need and helping to provide meals for them.
According to Abbey, the mother of the generous woman, her daughter had a habit of sharing with those who were less fortunate. “Whenever she came across someone who didn’t have what she had, she would make an effort to give them something,” Abbey shared.
According to Claudia’s mother, her relatives and friends in Ghana have observed that Americans visiting the country often avoid mingling with Ghanaian children, seemingly thinking they are superior. However, Claudia is different and does not hold such beliefs.
According to her mother, Claudia isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and is willing to part with her own belongings to help others.
Keon Anderson, who was her best friend, was greatly impacted by her positive influence.
According to Keon, his mother played a vital role in keeping him focused on his studies. He stated in an interview with CNN that she would often take away his phone and urge him to concentrate on his schoolwork.
Keon and Claudia’s friendship began during their freshman year at Queens High School of Teaching in a math class. They quickly bonded and ended up having most of their classes together the following year. Their shared love for English class, taught by their favorite teacher, often led them to spend their lunch period together.
The two friends lived just a few blocks away from each other and would often commute to school together. They enjoyed spending time together on FaceTime, watching their favorite show “You,” and sharing jokes that made them laugh.
Keon’s daily routine has shifted this year as he no longer meets Claudia to go to school together. Instead, he starts his day with a few moments of prayer, focusing on his best friend.
As he gazes at the humble memorial on his windowsill, he can’t help but feel a sense of warmth and comfort. A photo of his loved one beaming with joy is framed by a delicate white candle and a crystal angel figurine embracing a deep indigo rose. It’s a small yet meaningful tribute that brings him solace in moments of reflection.
Next to her photo sits a delicate glass sculpture in the shape of a heart, with a touching inscription etched into it.
Grief can be a difficult emotion to navigate, especially when we lose someone we love. The pain of missing them can feel overwhelming at times. However, it’s important to remember that our loved ones will always hold a special place in our hearts, even if they are no longer physically present. As the saying goes, “those we love don’t go away.” Their memories and the impact they had on our lives will continue to live on, and we can honor them by cherishing the time we had together and keeping their legacy alive.
Every day, we have companions that walk alongside us.
At just 16 years old, Keon deeply misses the intimate conversations he had with Claudia, their shared jokes, and the funny memes they used to send back and forth. He thinks about her every single day and can’t help but feel a sense of longing for their friendship.
He expressed his sadness and anger over the tragic incident, stating that she was robbed of her life and did not deserve to have such a horrible thing happen to her.
According to Keon, he first came across news of a 16-year-old girl being shot on May 10th, but her identity was not disclosed. The very next day, while on his way to school, Keon received a call from his mother, asking him to come back home. Upon his return, Keon’s mother broke the tragic news that Claudia had passed away.
Keon expressed to CNN that the news was overwhelming and caused him to break down in tears.
Keon has been undergoing therapy at school to help him deal with his grief. According to him, the therapy has been effective in helping him cope with the situation.
According to CNN, Roberta Anderson, the mother of Keon, shared that she had initially thought about transferring him to another school due to concerns that the memories might be too overwhelming for him. However, the emotional and mental support system provided by the school has made a significant impact on Keon’s well-being.
Anderson expressed her appreciation towards the school, stating that as parents, they consider the school as an extension of their family. However, during this time, the school went beyond being an external family and treated them as their own. This gesture solidified the fact that the children in the school are not just students, but their children as well.
“I could never have imagined that they would show such an immense amount of love and attention towards the situation.”
Claudia had a remarkable ability to make people laugh with her quick wit and sense of humor during her brief 16 years of life. Despite her youth, she was also incredibly focused on planning for her future.
According to Anderson, Claudia was a compassionate person with a passion for caring for others. She had a nurturing spirit and genuinely enjoyed helping people. Her heart was in the field of providing care, and it was her true calling in life.
Raised in a family with a strong work ethic and a compassionate heart, she was brought up by a construction worker father and a medical assistant mother.
Her determination was lauded by her four brothers in a written tribute, as she lived alongside them and her parents.
The siblings wrote about their admiration for their mother’s unwavering expression of her emotions and her ability to encourage collaboration among them. They also expressed how her fearlessness in speaking her mind, even at a young age, inspired them and kept them grounded. Despite living in a male-dominated household, their mother never let it affect her and refused to let anyone diminish her brilliance. The siblings vowed to follow in her footsteps and strive for the same level of confidence and determination.
The family and friends of Claudia are well aware that nothing can bring her back. However, what they are hoping for is justice to be served and for the perpetrator to be held accountable for this senseless crime. It may not bring Claudia back, but it can provide them with a sense of closure.
“Finding Claudia’s killer is crucial for her mother to find peace. She believes that justice must be served, and the perpetrator should not walk free while Claudia is no longer with us. Her soul will not rest in peace until the responsible party is held accountable for their actions.”