Parents remember victim of deadly Patton Park shooting, police still call for answers

Family remembers woman shot, killed at Patton Park

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The parents of a woman killed in that Easter Sunday shooting at Patton Park continue to grieve the loss of their daughter and now feel called to speak out against the gun violence that claimed her life.

“I’ve yet to cry. It hasn’t hit me totally yet,” said Michael Yarbrough.

His tone is heavy and his hands are crossed. His wife sits close by his side.

“It doesn’t seem real that she’s not here, because we talked 2 -3-4 times a day,” said Sonya Yarbrough.

It is a heart wrenching new normal for both Michael and Sonya Yarbrough.

“We couldn’t get to her. The coroner showed us a picture of her that he had on her phone,” said Michael Yarbrough, “and that was the start of the longest night and the week of our lives.”

Just hours before, 32-year-old Areyelle Yarbrough and her family were eating Easter dinner and playing games. Their last time together.

“When you become a part of the story, you don’t look at the violence on the TV - the reporting of it that the same,” said Michael Yarbrough.

The parents say it is important you know the person behind the most recent face of gun violence victims in Birmingham. They describe Areyelle as a faith-driven leader in her community, a scholar, a devoted daughter, and friend to everyone who knew her. She worked in the Revenue Department at the County Commission and her parents say she was recently promoted to supervisor. She’d also passed her most recent semester of graduate school.

Both agree, she made the most of the dash between her birthdate and the day she died.

“Does that make you proud parents,” said Randi Hildreth, WBRC Reporter.

“Yes. You know your child, but didn’t know the extent to which she touched so many,” said Sonya Yarbrough.

Witnesses say she was killed trying to protect children during the shooting. Her father says it’s hard to say what the next days will bring, but says he’s gathering his strength to continue to fight for his daughter’s legacy.

“Will step up more now to be more inclusive of the hurt that is out there because my church is in College Hill, in the heart of the violence,” said Michael Yarbrough.

Five others were hurt in that shooting. There is still an over $18,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

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