‘She went from the classroom to the cemetery’; relative of Atmore shooting victim speaks out

Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 9:24 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - It’s been nearly two weeks since 16-year-old Janyia Wilson was tragically shot to death by her alleged boyfriend in Atmore.

FOX10 News spoke with her great-aunt, Tawanna Thomas, and she has a personal message to share.

It’s her deepest hope that gun violence wouldn’t take another life.

“We took a 16-year-old girl that had a future today- we had to take her from the classroom to the cemetery and no parent should be able to bury their child from gun violence,” stated Thomas.

Thomas says around 150 people showed up to the vigil last week to honor Janyia.

“The message behind that was safety for our children, safety for our classroom, and safety for our students. We came together to mourn a loved one that was lost- gone forever. We want to come together so that we may be able to reach someone else that may be put in a similar situation that they can use this as moving out of that situation,” she added.

The vigil was also a demonstration against gun violence.

“It’s time for this town and towns all over the world to take control of gun violence- to take control of not having these weapons to be accessible to the youth. We have to put them in a safe place so our children are not able to get their hands on them,” she said.

This past weekend, Janyia was laid to rest.

Thomas says she wants Janyia to be remembered for her heart.

“Janyia was a very loving person, a very athletic person, she met no stranger. It was tragic what happened to her- it’s tragic what happened to the family, what happened to both families,” concluded Thomas.

Atmore PD says a 16-year-old teenage male suspect is in custody in connection to her murder. He’s been charged with murder and is currently at the Escambia County Detention Center.