B'ham family loses 2 relatives to gun violence within month

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - We're hearing from a family member of the 16-year-old girl shot and killed early Sunday morning.

Birmingham police tell us Arrielle Parker-Jefferies was killed in a drive-by shooting. One relative said this isn't the first time this family has lost a loved one to gun violence.

Just last month, Arrielle's uncle was shot and killed while changing a tire at a gas station on Bessemer Road, making this most recent tragedy even more difficult to bear.

"She'd light up any room she walked in," said Tammie Owens.

Owens remembers her son's neice Arrielle Parker-Jefferies as a happy, young woman who loved life.

"She was a majorette at school. She was real active," she said. "Arrielle wanted to do was play around, dance around, act silly and goofy, and get her a few laughs, and eat and that's it. Those things she loved doing. And they took that away from us."

Birmingham police said Arrielle was in a car on the 200 block of Westwood Drive just after midnight Sunday, when a dark-colored vehicle passed and began shooting.

Arrielle was hit.

"Of course, we were hoping it was a rumor," said Owens.

But when Owens and her son got to Children's Hospital, where Arrielle was taken, it was too late.

"I got a chance to hold her hand and kiss her. Just devastating. Just awful," she said.

Arrielle's death came just weeks after her uncle Denorris Barnes was shot and killed at a gas station while changing his tire.

"She was just on my shoulder at her uncle's funeral. And for her to be gone a couple of weeks after.  To the same thing.  The same exact thing, gun violence," said Owens.  "I mean, how does that happen?  How do you deal with it?  Other than pray.  Just pray for strength. Over and over again."

Owens said she doesn't believe this was a targeted attack and doesn't understand why Arrielle was shot. She knows someone knows something and hopes they'll come forward to bring the family closure.

If you have any information, please contact the B.P.D. Homicide Unit at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.

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