A week after his death, family and friends of a Georgia high school football star are still asking “why” as police search for a motive in the brazen murder that shocked the Lawrenceville community.
Two teens have been arrested and charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in relation to 18-year-old Elijah DeWitt’s killing but the motive is still unknown.
Kemare Bryan, 18, and Chandler Richardson, 19, both from Lawrenceville, were taken into custody by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office in Gwinnett County, South Carolina two days after the killing and are expected to be extradited to Lawrenceville this week, according to reporting by Fox News.
“Detectives are still working to investigate the motive behind this incident, it appears that the suspects and the victim were familiar with each other and when they encountered each other in the parking lot, an altercation took place and then the shooting,” Gwinnett police said in a statement on Friday.
But DeWitt’s mother dismissed the police assertion that her son was familiar with the accused, claiming Dewitt was on a date with his girlfriend at the Sugar Loaf Mill Mall Dave and Busters when Bryan and Richardson attempted to rob the couple, she told Fox5 Atlanta.
Lawrenceville police received multiple 911 calls in response to the incident that took place while students were out of school celebrating fall break.
“In one, a woman describes the suspected gunman being dropped off in a black vehicle and crossing her vehicle’s path. She said she nearly ran into him before hearing gunshots while finishing parking. In another call, the operator instructs the manager of Dave & Buster’s on how to perform CPR. ‘He’s barely breathing,’ the manager said, frantically attempting to revive DeWitt. ‘No response, no response,” Fox News reported.
A third caller described the chaos at the scene.
“I was at Dave & Buster’s, I heard people screaming, I looked towards my right, and I see someone lay down,” a man told 911 operators as a woman can be heard crying in the background, “I’ve never seen anything like this, man.”
Friends and family remembered the teen who had aspirations to play college football at a vigil held Sunday.
“Elijah wouldn’t want me to just sit around and cry,” Dewitt’s sister Delaney DeWitt said. “I know, that’s what Elijah would want. He would want us to keep our heads up and just come together as people. We’re not going to just sit around and give up. He’s just going to be in the back of my brain, saying, ‘You got this. Keep going, give 100%.’”
Dewitt’s girlfriend, Bailey Reidling is still trying to come to terms with the violence that rocked her world but is focused on honoring Dewitt’s memory.
“I just want everybody to know that he was just very kind and gentle at heart. He was really everybody’s protector,” Reidling said. “I love how you protected Delaney. And that’s why I thought a lot of him.”
Funeral services for the Jefferson High School wide receiver will be held October 12 at 6 p.m. at the Arena at Jefferson High School with visitation held October 11 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Jefferson Church.
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