"She was like my best friend. She was everything to me," Rahfek Dennis, 15, said at a vigil Sunday night at the apartment complex, where more than 100 relatives and friends gathered. "I love her to death. I can't believe this happened."
Rashawn Dennis, 16, echoed his brother. "I looked up to her," the teen said. "I told her everything."
Sanders, the eldest of six siblings, was getting ready to finish classes at the University of Phoenix when she was killed, said her grandmother, Barbara Sanders. Barbara Sanders, who lives in the West Park Apartments, said her granddaughter lived in Cheltenham with her mother but often stayed with her in West Philly.
"She always told me, 'Grandmom, you're all that,' " Sanders, 56, recalled. "She'd give you the shirt off her back."
As of Sunday night, police did not know for whom the bullet that killed Zykia Sanders was intended or what led to the gunfire.
Barbara Sanders called her granddaughter's killer a coward.
"Don't shoot an innocent person and run," she said. "Turn yourself in. You killed somebody's child."
Anyone with information on the shooting should call police at 215-686-TIPS (8477) or text a tip to PPD TIP (773847). Tipsters can remain anonymous.