Mo. High School Freshman Is Killed After Being Shot in Car: 'A Part of Me Is Gone,' Says Mom
Deosha Purnell, 15, nicknamed herself "Princess" and "loved to make people laugh," said her father
Deosha Purnell gave herself the nickname "Princess."
"I guess she felt like she was a princess," her mom, Khaliliah January, told St. Louis TV station KMOV. "But I called her ‘hug-a-bunch.’"
The 15-year-old high school freshman was riding in a car about 6 p.m. Monday when she was shot in the right shoulder near a city park along the Mississippi River. A bystander heard gunshots and then a car crash before rushing to help.
"I grabbed her and I sat her down and I immediately wanted to pray with her," said Eric Bailey, reports KSDK. "That was the most I could do at the moment, and also apply pressure to her wound."
"The bullet was traveling, there was a few times where she said it felt like it was in her chest, and one time she said 'it feels like it's in my throat,' she was in agony," he said.
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Police said she died at a hospital from her injuries.
"I feel like a part of me is gone," her mother said.
Police said the death was the city's 194th homicide of the year, already matching the number of homicides in all of 2019, "but she's so much more than a number to her mother Khalilah January who is heartbroken and lost," Dawn James wrote in a GoFundMe appeal for donations to help the family.
"[T]he mother of 9 children, she desperately needs our help to lay her daughter to rest. Deosha didn't deserve this she had a passion for doing hair, loved to eat and laugh it's a tragedy someone so full of life has been robbed of hers," James wrote.
Purnell's father, Tommie Thompson, told KMOV: "She liked to joke, she loved to make people laugh."
Said Purnell's mother: "Whoever killed my baby, I just want justice before the street gets to them. Before their momma got to feel the pain I got."
Police who still are searching for the shooter asked anyone with information to call 314- 444-5371 or place an anonymous tip with CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS (8477).