Authorities in Augusta, Georgia, have launched a manhunt for two suspects accused of fatally shooting an 8-year-old girl in the head as she petted horses outside her home on Saturday.
Arbrie Leigh Anthony, an honor-roll student at Jenkins-White Elementary School, began the day visiting with her aunt and playing outside. By Saturday night, she was pronounced dead at a local hospital after police say two suspects driving by in a red or orange Jeep Compass fired as many as 10 shots outside her apartment building.
They unleashed the rain of bullets on an area where neighbors kept horses for children to pet, police said. One of the horses was also killed in the attack.
“We are following up on every lead that comes in, but I cannot and will not accept the fact that no one knows who these suspects are,” Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree told reporters Monday. “There are individuals in this community that knew why they were there, knew what they were there for and knew who they were after, but yet they’ve failed to come forward with this information.”
“All acts of violence involving gunfire are senseless but when it comes to a child, we take that one personally,” Roundtree said, calling the gunmen “cowards.”
Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspects in the vehicle, which may have had a black top or a black stripe on the hood.
Meanwhile, Anthony’s family has been left shellshocked by such a happy day ending in bloodshed.
“It was just a normal Saturday, a normal day. She loved to play outside,” Anthony’s aunt, Jamila McDaniel, told The Augusta Chronicle, recalling that she’d visited with her niece and brought her a purple Powerade just hours before the shooting. “I’m just not understanding why someone would do something like that.”
“My brother will never be the same,” she said of Anthony’s father. “What that person stole from him, from us, it’s so unimaginable the pain and hurt. He took something so precious from us for something so senseless.”
McDaniel described her niece as full of spunk and charisma, a student with a fondness for TikTok and love for traveling. Jenkins-White Elementary School officials said they would make grief counselors available for staff and students in light of Anthony’s death, which they said left the entire community “deeply saddened.”
Jason Prouty, the boss of Anthony’s father, Art Anthony, set up a GoFundMe to help the family cover funeral expenses, saying the 8-year-old was her father’s “everything and his reason for living.”
The family is reportedly planning a march in the 8-year-old’s honor following her funeral.
“We are going to [get] justice for Arbrie, we are going to protest for Arbrie. Everyone will know about Arbrie Leigh Anthony,” McDaniel told the Chronicle.