Strangers show support for Sweetwater child despite cancelled prayer circle

The family confirmed they cancelled the prayer moments before its scheduled start time due to, “bad news.”
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 10:26 PM EST
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SWEETWATER, Tenn. (WVLT) - As of Thursday night, 2-year-old Alayna Butts’ family told WVLT News she was still fighting for her life after being caught in the line of fire during a shooting at a Sweetwater home Tuesday night. Friday, the family announced that she had died.

Previous Coverage: 2-year-old dies after Sweetwater shooting, family says

One other person was killed, and three others were injured. A family friend told WVLT News the toddler was taken off a ventilator Thursday and that doctors said she was brain dead.

Butt’s family and friends put out a plea for prayers and invited anyone to attend a prayer circle at Duck Park Thursday evening.

The family confirmed they canceled the prayer moments before its scheduled start time due to “bad news.” Yet, a group of about a dozen strangers, neighbors and friends stayed to show their support.

“I have a two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter to see her in that swing,” said Ella Waters. “They’re a member of this community, and we just need to be here to support them.”

Some Sweetwater police were all hands on deck, either praying with the group or standing by for their protection. After the prayer, one neighbor said they were also praying for Butt’s sister, whose family said she witnessed the shooting.

Friends have also set up a GoFundMe account on behalf of the family as another means of support.