Fort Smith Shooting Death to Make National Headlines
A Fort Smith girl, shot and killed back in December is now at the center of a national discussion on gun violence.
The family of 21 year old Aleya Criswell sharing their story, and how losing her has completely changed their lives.
“It’s just the worst thing to go through,” Marquita Thompson, Criswell’s cousin, said “Especially knowing what type of person she was. You know, and losing her life over something that didn’t have anything to do with her. Nothing.”
Police say Criswell was not the intended target. Investigators told 5NEWS at the time of the shooting that the gunman was aiming for another person who happened to be riding in the same van as Criswell.
“Out of seven people in the van, she was the one that got shot,” Thompson said.
“You never think one day this might happen to your own family,” Crystal Paxton, Criswell’s cousin, said. “You know, I never imagined it.”
A Huffington Post reporter says Criswell’s story will soon be featured on the website in a piece on gun violence.
Thompson told 5NEWS that having Criswell’s story be featured on the website was an honor.
“For them to pick her out of everybody in the United States.. for them to pick her it was amazing,” Thompson said.
Her family is talking about how losing her has changed their lives as well as the Fort Smith community.
“Kids used to just fight it out,” Thompson said. “Or just stop being friends, you know. But now, they’re like literally pulling out guns. Some are aiming to kill. Some are trying to scare and end up killing, and it has caused devastation in our community period.”
“People think they can solve problems with guns,” Paxton said. “That’s not the answer at all. It’s not the guns, it’s the people behind them.”
The proposed story on Criswell is called “The Price of Freedom”. The Huffington Post reporter is expected to conclude interviews with Criswell’s family next week.