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Sumter neighborhood honoring three young children who were shot in home

The Woodridge subdivision is honoring the three children who were shot and killed by tying white ribbons on trees and mailboxes to symbolize innocence.

SUMTER, S.C. — Neighbors are tying white ribbons on trees in the Woodridge subdivision to honor the three young children who were tragically killed in what Sumter Police are calling a domestic dispute.

The children who were killed were identified as 5-year-old Aayden Holliday Slacks, 11-year-old Ava Holliday, and 6-year-old Aason Holliday Slacks.

"Stay strong, push through, and know that you have people out here who are really thinking about you and really want you to keep pushing forward," neighbor Aliyah Blanding wants to share with the mother left mourning the murders of her three children.

Sumter Police say Charles Slacks Jr. entered his ex-wife's home using a key, where he shot and killed his two children, one stepchild and a male coworker, now identified as Command Sergeant Major Carlos Evans, in the backyard.

Evans had been in the Army for 21 years and was stationed in Sumter. The Army called him “an outstanding leader and caring friend" in a statement.    

Then, police say Slacks killed himself, leaving his ex-wife unharmed to mourn the loss of her family

"I couldn’t imagine my life without my kids, you know?" Blanding got emotional as she said.

To show support, the community is beginning to tie white ribbons on the trees outside.

"As long as I can bless someone, that’s worth my while," one woman whose family lives in the subdivision explains about why she's helping. "I don’t have much, but I’ve been blessed with the ability to do, and as long as I can do for people, that’s my joy and that’s my thrill and that’s my pleasure."

She didn’t want to show her face or share her name but did say she’ll help to honor the kids who lost their lives however she can.

"I said well anyone that wants [a ribbon], I'll make them one and give it to them," the woman said. "And then the list started growing."

Now, there are 20 people in line for her ribbons. Past Home Owner's Association President Eddie Jackson tells me he hopes to see even more.

"This is something that we don’t just want to see in Woodridge. We have our solidarity but at the same time, we would love for this to become something that the entire community of Sumter does," Jackson said. "It would be a wonderful thing if we could get our entire city to do this in some way shape or fashion."

Jackson says the white symbolizes innocence to represent the 5, 6, and 11-year-old who were tragically killed.

"It’s something small but it really means a lot when you have all these people gathering together, thinking about you, and trying to find things that can comfort you," Blanding said.

But anyone can participate in the best form of comfort, according to Jackson.

"If they were to say well what can I do to help this family? Prayer is what you can do," Jackson said. "Prayer is a powerful thing."

Jackson tells News 19 the neighborhood will also try to plant white flowers outside each home to continue honoring the lives that were lost.

"Stay strong mama. Stay strong. Don’t give up," Blanding said in a message to the mother. "We’ll forever remember them."

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