A 19-year-old college student was fatally shot at her family’s home in Georgia, police say.
Khia Shields of Wrens, Georgia, was killed shortly after 1 a.m. Aug. 26, Wrens police said in a news release.
Police said they received a call about a gunshot wound. When they arrived, police said they found Shields had been shot at least once.
She was rushed to Augusta University for medical treatment, where she died of her injuries, police said.
“Y’all really took my baby away,” Shields’s mother, Shareka Pitts wrote on Facebook.
Pitts told WJBF her daughter was asleep on the couch. In the middle of the night, she came into her mother’s bedroom with gunshot wounds, she told the news outlet.
“She had her hands held out like, ‘mommy, mommy, I’m shot,’” Pitts told the news station.
Shields was a student at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro and was entering her sophomore year, her mother said. The university is offering counseling to students and the community.
“I was very saddened to hear about Khia Shields’s passing and the tragic circumstances that I understand led to her death,” Shay Little, the vice president for student affairs, said in an email to McClatchy News. “While I did not know her personally, it tears at my heart to hear of a 19-year-old whose bright future has been cut short. We have notified her faculty and other officials on campus and, as always, our staff and our counseling center are prepared to help our University community where needed.”
Pitts described her daughter as a warm, spirited person.
“She wanted to be a teacher. But little kids always latched on to her for some reason, all the kids that she was around and like her God Son, even her cousins, she was just that person that they would latch to that they will connect with,” she told WRDW.
“Khia was a loving person!” Pitts wrote on Facebook. “We gotta put these guns down.”
The Walmart where Shields worked created a memorial display for her, and a GoFundMe is being organized to help with funeral arrangements and to go toward a reward for information.
Some people on social media were frustrated by gun violence in the area that police said led to Shields’s death. Police, however, said they will continue to search for answers. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations is also investigating the shooting, Wrens police said.
“The sad part is, there are people walking around day and night in Wrens, who know the entire story and who pulled the trigger and they refuse to testify,” police said on Facebook. “We are already following up with great leads on this murder.”
Jefferson County, where Wrens is located, has experienced other recent shootings. Five people were injured in a drive-by shooting on Aug. 20, eventually prompting the sheriff’s office to announce a $5,000 reward on Aug. 28 “leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for recent gun violence occurring in Jefferson County.”
Special Agent in charge Patrick Morgan told WJBF the recent gun violence could be gang-related.
“It appears to us that this is some type of gang associated violence that’s going on,” Morgan told WJBF. “We’re trying to get a handle on that and conduct several investigations that date back a couple of months that we think are all tied to the incidents that have taken place recently.”
Wrens is about 130 miles southeast of Atlanta.