Posted on October 11, 2022

Georgia High School Football Star, 18, Is Shot Dead in Mall Parking Lot

Vanessa Serna, Daily Mail, October 10, 2022

Two teenage boys have been arrested for shooting dead a Georgia high school football star in a mall parking lot while he was on a date with his girlfriend.

Elijah DeWitt, 18, was shot dead in the parking lot of a Dave & Buster’s outside of the Sugarloaf Mills Mall in Lawrenceville on October 5 following an altercation with two others.

Elijah DeWitt

Elijah DeWitt

Police arrested Kemare Bryan, 18, and Chandler Richardson, 19, in South Carolina two days later. The two are both from Lawrenceville.

‘Detectives are still working to investigate the motive behind this incident, it appears that the suspects and the victim were familiar with each other and when they encountered each other in the parking lot, an altercation took place and then the shooting,’ Gwinnett Police Department said in a statement.

DeWitt was on a date with his girlfriend, Bailey Reidling, at the time of his death. In a 911 emergency call, Reidling can be heard screaming in the background.

‘I was at Dave & Buster’s, I heard people screaming, I look towards my right, and I see someone lay down,’ a person said in a 911 call obtained by Fox News. ‘I’ve never seen anything like this, man.’

Bryan and Richardson were charged with malice and felony murder. The two were also charged with possession of a firearm and aggravated assault

The duo will be extradited from Anderson County to Gwinnett County on October 10.

A candlelight vigil for DeWitt was held on Sunday evening as nearly a hundred people gathered to honor the Jefferson High School student.

‘Definitely the worst day of my life,’ Dawn Erwitt, Elijah’s mom told Fox News. ‘His life just came completely to a screeching halt in seconds.’

Erwitt told 11Alive News that her son was dedicated to football and strived to be number one.

‘He loved football, he was ready and willing to do whatever it takes to go D1, that was his ultimate goal.’

Despite losing their son, Dawn and her husband Craig have forgiven his alleged killers.

Forgiveness is for the forgiver,’ Craig told Fox news. ‘We don’t want the hate in this household.’

Elijah died on his father’s birthday, according to 11Alive News.

Reidling mourned her boyfriend of more than four years in a heartfelt tribute days after he died in front of her.

‘They say you aren’t suppose to question God – but damn,’ Reidling wrote. ‘I never thought I would be having to write this. Baby, I know you couldn’t help what happened but damn why’d you leave me.

‘We had so much planned & so much to look forward to, I just don’t understand. I don’t think I will ever understand. None of this is real to me yet, so I feel like I’m stuck.’

She concluded: ‘Elijah was a light, he wasn’t a man of many words but every room he walked into he made his presence. He made me a stronger person. he made me want to be better. He made me proud as hell to be his girlfriend.’

Reidling later said that Elijah would want everyone to accept his death and move on.

Elijah’s family called him a ‘shining star’ and has set up a fundraiser campaign to host a scholarship in his memory.

‘We are working toward an idea to honor Elijah and keep his memory alive and acknowledge that there are many needs in the coming months for friends and family of the DeWitts that you could directly impact,’ GoFundMe organizer Peter Miano wrote.

As of October 10, the campaign has raised more than $40,000 of its $60,000 goal. One donator contributed $20,000 toward the cause.

A funeral service will be held in honor of Elijah Wednesday, October 12, at Jefferson Church at 6pm.