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Unsolved murder of teen girl in front of a Seattle bakery continues to haunt family

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SEATTLE -- While most of us prepare for the holidays, the happiest time of year for many people, detectives and a determined mother are fighting for answers in the murder of a 16-year-old girl.

Kahlani Shabazz was on track to graduate early. She had dreams of becoming a lawyer. And on May 3, 2017, she was looking forward to prom dress shopping with her mother. All of that was taken away in an instant.

Kahlani and her mother were pulling into Borracchini’s Bakery in Seattle to pick up a birthday cake when gunshots rang out. 

Kahlani had been shot in the head. 

“Once I understood what was happening and saw her it was an out of body experience. Having to do CPR and looking at her...she looked at me and it was just blank. She took three breaths and it was just over. I was powerless. That was it," says Kahlani’s mother, Elizabeth “Nonnie” Sye. 

Two years later, it’s impossible to put into words what that moment was really like.

“My mind takes me to the moment of impact. Did she feel that? Did she know? Did she understand she was leaving me?” her mother recalls. 

The pain of that moment is indescribable. Elizabeth says her life was taken, too. 

“I’m empty. I’m alone. Holidays come up, and she’s usually in the kitchen cooking with me, she’s usually shopping with me. And those things are gone now. So I don’t have a life...it’s nothing now," she says. 

"I watch women going in and out of stores with their daughters who are the same age as her, and they laugh and they’re joking, saying something sarcastic ... I hate it. I hate to see it," Elizabeth says. "I don’t want to ruin anyone's happiness or say anything, but I’ll literally stop and just look at them and say, ‘Oh my god. You don’t understand what you have.’" 

“I know they can’t sleep...I know they can’t,” says family friend Bridgett Lott, who says she knows someone out there holds the answers they desperately need.

She says she knows someone out there can do the right thing, even the shooter themselves.

“I’m sure at some point in this person’s life, they had a good heart," she says. 

Retired Seattle Police Detective Myrle Carner of Crime Stoppers agrees that this case is solvable.

“Two-and-a-half years is kind of a long time to kind of grind things in your mind. People want to talk to somebody, they really do, and we’re giving you the opportunity to do it anonymously,” says Carner. 

To anyone out there with information, Kahlani’s mother wants them to picture this:  “Imagine that being your child, shot in the head, and there’s nothing you can do.”

It’s a harrowing thought she hopes will help someone find it in their heart to do the right thing.

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound will pay you a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information. You will remain anonymous. Call 1-800-222-TIPS(8477), or use the P3 Tips App that you can download to your cell phone for free.

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