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After the murder of two ‘beautiful’ sisters, a Dallas pastor leads an unorthodox service

After the murder of two ‘beautiful’ sisters, a Dallas pastor leads an unorthodox service

After the murder of two ‘beautiful’ sisters, a Dallas pastor leads an unorthodox service

This story is part of The Dallas Morning News. homicide project focused on sharing the stories of people killed in Dallas in 2024.

The pastor wanted to make one thing clear: this was not going to be a traditional funeral, because what brought this solemn crowd together in an Oak Cliff chapel was not God’s will.

The Dallas Morning News is telling the stories of people killed in homicides in 2024 to show the toll of violent crime in Dallas. Reports running throughout the year will look at what officials are doing to address a crime that claimed at least 246 lives last year.

God believes people should have hope and a future, the Rev. David Diggles said, things that were taken away from Amaya and Jalisa Lockett when they were shot May 18 in the apartment the sisters shared in Old East Dallas. Amaya was 24 and Jalisa was 22.

“These two beautiful young women were taken from us far too soon, victims of a tragic and senseless act of violence,” Diggles said in his eulogy. “They wanted to finish college. Each of them had a child who will now grow up without their mothers. They had friends, family and parents who loved them.”

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Police have said the suspected gunman, Saadiq Shabazz, was Jalisa’s boyfriend. In an affidavit for the arrest warrant, an officer wrote that Shabazz said he fired out of “rage,” that he didn’t intend to kill them, but that he couldn’t return the bullets.

Purple ribbon against domestic violence that read “forever in our hearts” was used in ...
A purple ribbon against domestic violence that read “forever in our hearts” was displayed at the celebration of life for Amaya Lockett, 24, and Jalisa Lockett, 22, at Laurel Land Funeral Home in Dallas on June 4, 2024. (Elias Valverde II / Team Photographer)

On June 4, more than 100 people came to the Laurel Land funeral home to mourn the future that decision destroyed. Nearly all of them wore something purple: dresses, ties, bows, bracelets and ribbons held together with safety pins that read “forever in our hearts” — tangible reminders of what Diggles called “the harsh reality” of domestic violence.

“This is not something that is happening far away,” he said. “This is happening in our community. This is happening in our homes.”

“The lives of Amaya and Jalisa were taken by this evil, and it is a wake-up call for all of us.”

Bouquets of white and pink roses surrounded their coffins, each with a “Mom” emblem inside. Projected above them were slides of photographs from nearly every stage of their lives: the sisters cuddling on a blue motorbike, hugging teddy bears, riding horses, posing on holiday.

Two black hearses took their bodies from the funeral home down a winding road through the cemetery, where their parents, Alicia Singleton and Jaunci Lockett, and their children, Destiny, 2, and Elijah, 10 months, watched as they were buried one by one in a shared grave.

“I can’t remember a day where I haven’t talked to them three or four times a day, every single one of them,” Singleton said. “I’m waiting for my phone to ring.”

Sisters who balanced each other

Amaya was an introvert, an avid gamer, artist, and lover of anime and music. She had such a soft spot for animals that she didn’t even kill insects, but instead took the time to catch them and release them outside.

Still, Singleton explained, Amaya had an adventurous spirit. She was just beginning to find her voice and stand up for herself.

“She always said, ‘Mom, I’m not as brave as you,’” but Singleton said she always assured Amaya that wasn’t the case. “She was always brave.”

Amaya was also a student at Tarrant County College, where she was working toward a real estate license.

Mourners pray around the caskets of Amaya Lockett, 24, and Jalisa Lockett, 22, in Laurel...
Mourners pray around the caskets of Amaya Lockett, 24, and Jalisa Lockett, 22, at Laurel Land Memorial Park. Sisters Amaya and Jalisa Lockett were shot and killed May 18 in Old East Dallas.(Elias Valverde II / Team Photographer)

Jalisa was feisty, independent and a real social butterfly, Singleton said.

She loved fashion, singing, recording TikTok videos, and making treats like banana bread and molded chocolates. She attended Columbia College and was pursuing a degree in business management and entrepreneurship.

Like her sister, Singleton said Jalisa had a big heart and sometimes had a hard time giving too much of it to other people.

“I kept telling him, ‘You can help people, but you can’t help everybody,’” she said. “People have to want to help themselves.”

‘Unimaginable’

Amaya and Jalisa were making plans for their future, recalled their father, Jaunci Lockett. They had recently enrolled in parenting classes and were moving into separate apartments when their lease expired at the end of May.

“This is just not real,” he said.

Mourners embrace after carrying the caskets of Amaya Lockett, 24, and Jalisa Lockett, 22,...
Mourners embrace after loading the caskets of Amaya Lockett, 24, and Jalisa Lockett, 22, into a pair of hearses at Laurel Land Funeral Home, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Dallas. Sisters Amaya and Jalisa Lockett were shot and killed May 18 in Old East Dallas.(Elias Valverde II / Team Photographer)

As grandparents, Lockett and Singleton have always been involved in Elijah and Destiny’s lives. Lockett said she misses the routine of taking her grandchildren to and from daycare, which gives her the opportunity to see and check on her daughters, too.

In the weeks since the shooting, Elijah has been living with his father’s family, while Lockett and Singleton have been caring for Destiny.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Singleton said. “I’m grateful that we’re here to do it and that we have the means to do it, (but) it sucks and it’s terrible, because they should have their moms.”

Lockett and Singleton, both veterans, said they raised Amaya and Jalisa to be aware of the precariousness of guns. To have lost both to an act of gun violence, and to witness the way it has shaped and will continue to shape generations of their family, is “unimaginable,” Singleton said.

“It still feels like an out-of-body experience, and I’ve been in a real war,” he said. “It’s my worst nightmare, honestly.”