Bre’Asia Powell was a loving daughter, a star athlete who played basketball and volleyball and an outstanding student who would have been a junior this fall at Benjamin E. Mays High School. Instead, her family is hoping to organize a candlelight vigil there after Bre’Asia was fatally shot at a large gathering outside the school early Sunday. She was 16.
“Her mother, who is my dear friend, an amazing woman, is absolutely devastated,” said family spokesperson Davida Huntley. “Her mother wants the world to know her daughter’s name. Her words over and over have been, ‘They took my superstar from me.”
Atlanta police responded at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and found two teens had been shot outside the school, where an unauthorized gathering had taken place. The other shooting victim was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition.
“It was a tragic event that unfortunately is not new to us,” Huntley said, referring to the scourge of gun violence affecting young people. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of children and teens killed by bullets increased 50% in the United States, according to a Pew Research Center study. The majority of gun deaths among children were homicides, the study found.
“We’re not special in this,” Huntley said. “Unfortunately, Bre’Asia paid the ultimate cost at an event where she was being a teenager who was out of the house, unbeknownst to her mom.”
Mayor Andre Dickens, who attended Mays High School as a youngster, said during a Sunday news conference he’d spoken to the mothers of both of the teens shot at the gathering.
“We are always heartbroken when anyone loses their life in our city but especially when it’s a young person the day after school lets out,” he said. “So we’re calling on parents, calling on young people and we’re calling on the community to continue to wrap their arms around our youth today.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.
“She was the most popular kid,” Huntley said. “She was a super smart, beautiful, charismatic girl. The life of the party. We will make sure her legacy will live on.”
Bre’Asia was able to speak after the shooting and unlocked her cell phone so her friends could summon help, Huntley said.
“Call my mom. I’ve been shot,” she said, Huntley was told. “Her friends attempted to apply pressure to her wounds. She said, ‘I’m good. I’m a fighter.’”
Bre’Asia’s mother dialed 911 but was initially disconnected, Huntley said.
“She said, ‘They could have saved my baby,’” she said.
The teen was to start working for the city of Atlanta Tuesday in its summer youth employment program.
“This young lady was full of life,” Dickens said.
Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring said a crisis team would be on campus Tuesday. Atlanta police Homicide Commander Lt. Andrew Smith said the Crime Stoppers reward for information in the fatal shooting is $10,000.
“It’s just a complete jolt to our community that she’s gone so soon,” Huntley said. “How do you come back from this?”