The pregnant mom was an "innocent bystander" caught in the crossfire

By KC Baker
July 26, 2019 12:46 PM
Auriel Callaway, 24, of Athens, Georgia

A woman has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a pregnant Georgia mom killed while trying to whisk her 3-year-old son away from a gunfight.

On Monday at about 9:45 p.m., Auriel Callaway, 24, was on her way home to her apartment complex in Athens with her son when a fight between two groups of people erupted and shots were fired, Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill said at a news conference Thursday.

As bullets began flying, Callaway grabbed her son and ran toward her apartment to keep him out of harm’s way when she was shot, Spruill said. She was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Her unborn child did not survive.

“I cannot think of a more tragic circumstance for an innocent young mother to be gunned down in front of her residence while her young child looked on,” Spruill said, adding that Callaway was an “innocent bystander.”

On Wednesday night, Kiresa Cooper, 27, was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated assault and one count of felony murder.

Police believe other people were firing guns during the fight but they identified Cooper, who also lives in the complex, as the one who allegedly shot Callaway, he said.

“There was more than one shooter,” Spruill said. “Our intention is to identify every individual that played a part in this … and have them charged and prosecuted to the fullest.”

Officials are investigating why the people were fighting. They do not believe it was gang-related, Spruill said.

RELATED: Pregnant Mom Is Fatally Shot While Holding Her 3-Year-Old Son’s Hand

Kiresa Cooper, 27, of Athens, Georgia
Clarke County Sheriff's Office

Callaway’s uncle, former University of Georgia football player and the team’s current director of player programs, Bryant Gantt, hopes the community can come together to stop the violence.

“We’ve got to start somewhere,” he said at the news conference. “If we could start at home and try to stop the violence at home, maybe it’ll trickle out throughout the country, throughout the nation.”

Investigators tracked down Cooper in nearby Cobb County and brought her back to Athens after they arrested her.

Cooper has not yet entered a plea. It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney who can speak on her behalf.

Gantt and Spruill ask anyone with videotaped footage of the incident or with information to come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Athens-Clarke County Detectives Scott Black at 706-613-3330, ext. 798 or Paul Johnson at 706-613-3330 at ext. 522.