Breyona McMillian: 16-year-old shot dead after returning to D.C. for Thanksgiving
Breyona McMillian was excited to be home again, back in Washington, D.C., where her life began. She had been away at boarding school in Iowa and was happy to come back home, her first time back in the city since February, when she left. Little did she know, one day after she gathered with her family for Thanksgiving, her life would end.
Breyona was shot several times about 11:40 a.m. in close proximity to the Potomac Gardens housing complex, D.C. police said. The shooting, in which witnesses reported hearing as many as a dozen gunshots, has shaken the community, especially with it being the holidays.
Breyona lay unconscious as first responders arrived. She was declared dead at the hospital.
“I took her phone out of her back pocket, I seen her. She wasn’t breathing,” her cousin Quashawn told WJLA-TV. “I couldn’t do nothing but cry. That’s it. Wish she could come back with us one more time.”
Her family told local media that they were resigned to the fact that they lost someone who was going to do something special with her life.
"Everybody loved her," her cousin Quashawn Wheeler told NBC News. "She was young, pretty, educated, liked to go to school," Wheeler said.
Police said they believe that Breyona was not the intended target, but that she was hit with a stray bullet.
A GoFundMe has been set up by Breyona's mother to take care of funeral expenses. In it, she pleads:
Please help raise money to bury my baby. She was only 16 years old and lost her life to a senseless act of violence. I'm still lost for words. Please keep me and my family in your prayers!!
Police have released the name of a "person of interest" in the slaying. Saeve Evans, 30, is seen on video footage firing a weapon at the same location of the shooting that killed Breyona, police told local media. Police are not naming him a suspect until they have completed their investigation, which seems to show at least one other person firing a weapon was well.
"I can tell you specifically that the video shows Saeve Evans in possession of a firearm and firing it and we do believe it was fired multiple times,” Interim D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told Fox 5 D.C. “That is the information that we have been able to confirm at this point.”
Quoting a police source, Fox 5's Lindsay Watts said that Evans turned himself in Tuesday night.
D.C.'s mayor praised the recent events that have culminated in someone being brought into the station connected to the slaying of Bryeona McMillian.
“A 16-year-old girl has been killed in broad daylight, and now we have identified a person who might be able to help us close this case,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said, according to Fox 5.
“Whole Gardens going to miss her," her cousin Quashawn told WJLA. “It’s crazy, she died the day after Thanksgiving. I mean I love her.”