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Georgia High School Football Star Is Killed In Parking Lot During Date With Girlfriend
Georgia police have taken two teenagers into custody for the death of Elijah DeWitt, who was gunned down during a fight in the Dave & Buster’s parking lot.
Two teenage suspects are in custody after a star Georgia high school football player was gunned down last week while on a date with his girlfriend.
Kemare Bryan, 18, and Chandler Richardson, 19, are now facing charges of felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies after Elijah DeWitt, 18, was shot to death Wednesday night in a Dave & Buster’s parking lot at the Sugarloaf Mall, according to a statement from the Gwinnett Police Department.
The pair were taken into custody the following day at a Quik-Trip in Anderson, South Carolina after authorities reportedly learned that they had planned to leave the state, according to WRDW.
Police said the two teenagers, who were scheduled to be extradited back to Georgia on Monday, are accused of shooting DeWitt after “an altercation” broke out in the parking lot.
While investigators have said they are still working to determine a motive in the case, they said it “appears the suspects and the victim were familiar with each other.”
However, DeWitt’s parents told WSB-TV that DeWitt had not been friends with the suspects.
At the time of the shooting, DeWitt — a star wide receiver who was supposed to graduate in May — had been out on a date with his girlfriend, Bailey Reidling, according to WAGA-TV.
She described her boyfriend as a caring person who had loved everyone.
“I just want everybody to know that he was just very kind and gentle at heart,” she told WSB-TV. “He was really everybody’s protector.”
DeWitt’s mother, Dawn DeWitt, described his death as “definitely the worst day of my life," adding that the family’s focus is now on honoring their son’s memory.
“I want him to be remembered as a fierce competitor with a very large heart,” she said.
His father, Craig DeWitt, told WRDW outside his home on Friday that he had already found forgiveness for his son’s killers.
“You know, we don’t know the kids. We don’t know their backgrounds. We don’t know their story. They’re forgiven from me,” he said. “[Elijah] was an amazing kid. He looked at every day as a gift, and he lived life definitely to the fullest.”
The community came together Sunday to remember DeWitt in an emotional vigil.
“We feel a very, very, very big, lonely void," Dawn DeWitt said, according to WXIA-TV. "We loved our son beyond measures, and our hearts are broken."
The Jefferson High School football team, where DeWitt had made his mark during his high-school career, also took time to remember their fallen teammate on Twitter.
“The Jefferson High School Football program is heartbroken as we mourn the loss of one of our own, Elijah DeWitt,” the tweet read. “The DeWitt family is in our thoughts and prayers.”
A funeral service will be held for the 18-year-old at the Jefferson High School arena on Wednesday.