Exclusive: Sahlah Ridgeway’s family speaks out about officer-involved shooting

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Carsundra Ridgeway says she’s remembering her 32-year-old daughter Sahlah Ridgeway the only way she knows how — through memories, photos and rap verses she left behind.

“I’ve processed it. I’ve been re-processing it over and over and over again,” Carsundra said.

Sahlah was shot by a Syracuse Police officer after she was told to put down a sawed-off shotgun — a gun her mother believes did not belong to her.

Carsundra believes it was her daughter’s dreams to become a mainstream rapper that motivated her take photos with guns, which were posted on her Facebook. 

She says Sahlah wanted to be noticed.

“As far as I know none of them have ever been loaded. They just play around and take pictures. That’s all they do,” Carsundra explained. “To them, that’s the way to do it. I never taught her that way to do it because to me that’s not the way to do it, but that’s the way they do it. That was the only way she was getting herself out there is by acting like something that she’s not.”

Now, Carsundra looks back at moments with her daughter, including an opportunity she had to see Sahlah perform her rap music in New York City.

Sahlah’s family is a grieving the loss, but also dealing with people claiming to be her friends and supporters – Carsundra says the pain is too deep.

John Ridgeway, Sahlah’s uncle, wants people to know that any GoFundMe pages online mentioning Sahlah are fake — they are not authorized by any family members.

“I understand you’re all showing your love and stuff, but you all did it the wrong way,” John shared. “You should have came and confronted the mother, the family members and then we could have done it in an organized way.”

A close family friend, Michelle Stephens, tells NewsChannel 9 several people have been “stealing photos” from Facebook pages of the family members.

Stephens says the family feels disrespected.

“We just want to heal,” Stephens shared,

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