Kiresa Cooper
Photo: Clarke County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Clarke County Sheriff's Office

Woman charged with murder in death of pregnant mother in Athens

A woman has been charged with murder after police said she was involved in a shooting that killed a pregnant mother who was holding her 3-year-old son’s hand in Athens. 

Kiresa Cooper, 27, is charged with murder in connection with the death of Auriel Callaway, Athens-Clarke County police said Wednesday. 


Callaway, who was four months pregnant, was killed when a stray bullet hit her Monday night during an argument at her apartment complex, police spokesman Geof Gilland said. 

The fight broke out about 9:45 p.m. at the Clarke Garden apartments on Carriage Court, Gilland said. When the argument escalated, someone pulled out a gun and started shooting. 

Auriel Callaway’s son was unharmed during the shooting. Her unborn child did not survive.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

“Callaway, an innocent bystander, was attempting to move her child to safety when she was struck during the gunfire,” Gilland said. Investigators do not believe she was targeted. 

Bystanders were already attempting CPR when authorities arrived at the apartments, Gilland previously said. Callaway was taken to a hospital, where she died. 

RELATED: Pregnant Georgia mother shot, killed while holding 3-year-old’s hand

The unborn baby did not survive. Her 3-year-old was unharmed and is being cared for by relatives, according to police. 

“I cannot think of a more tragic circumstance than for an innocent young mother to be gunned down in front of her residence while her young child looked on,” Athens-Clarke County police Chief Cleveland Spruill said in a news conference Thursday afternoon. 

Callaway’s uncle, Bryant Gantt, is a former University of Georgia football player and currently the team’s director of player programs. Gantt, a Cedar Shoals High School graduate, grew up near the neighborhood where his niece was killed and told Channel 2 Action News it’s a shame it has become such a violent environment. 

“If we could just start at home here in Athens first,” he said, “to try and just stop the violence.” 

Multiple people were detained Tuesday morning, but they were questioned by police and released.

Spruill said Cooper was identified as the shooter early in the investigation. In addition to the felony murder charge, Cooper faces one count of aggravated assault. She was arrested in Cobb County and taken to the Athens-Clarke County jail. Authorities expect additional charges will be filed against Cooper. 

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Athens-Clarke County police Detective Scott Black or Detective Paul Johnson at 706-613-3330.

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