Family of mother killed by stray bullet still grieving

Published 6:37pm Saturday, February 16, 2013

Family members and loved ones of slain 31-year-old Bridget Woods will gather in her home Sunday and hold a vigil in her honor, one year after her tragic and sudden death in the home.

“What we are wanting as a family is to have justice for her so she can be at peace,” Ashana Mollette, Woods’ niece said. “With the killer still being on the streets, that’s what is really hurting [my family] the most. The whole family still cries about it everyday because she hasn’t had any justice — none of us have had justice. She was the center of the family, the peacemaker of the family, so when she was killed it took a piece of everybody.”

The vigil Sunday at 3 p.m. will include speakers such as former Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr., Judge Collins Pettaway Jr., Bishop Bert A. Scott Sr., Bishop Frederick Hardy and Rev. Evelyn Scott. Most speakers will be neighbors and family members who will talk about the joy Woods brought to their lives as well as seeking justice for her killer.

One year ago on Feb. 17, shots rang out on Marie Foster Street and a bullet went through a window, striking Woods in the abdomen. Woods was asleep in her bed, with her then 11-year-old daughter sleeping in the room next door, when the bullet hit her. Mollette said she is scared now to lose another family member to tragedy and gun violence.

“It’s the fear of having another loved one lose his or her life the same way — with gun violence,” Mollette said. “Since this happened our family has become closer. It let us know that one day you are here and one day you are gone. Because there were several of us who spoke to her on the phone that night, it just made everyone closer and pray harder as a family.”

While Mollette said she and her family would never stop pursuing justice for Woods because of her contagious joy, there are suspects that remain in the case.

Lt. Johnny King of the Selma Police Department said they are just waiting for more leads and tips to come in so that an arrest can be made for Woods’ death.

“We are still trying to locate witnesses and we have some information and follow up on leads. We are not giving up on this … we are waiting to do some polygraph testing in the case,” King said.

King said he would not release the number of suspects currently in the case but said he wanted justice to be served in her death.

“I want the person who did the crime to be charged and give the family closure,” King said. “[The suspect] needs to be put in prison for what they did, and we will do all we can to get them justice. Anybody with information ought to come forward.”

The vigil will be solemn and a tribute to Woods’s life. The vigil will be peaceful, a very different scene from what the same house saw one year ago — chaos.

“It is a very bad memory and one that plays in my mind all of the time, a terrible night,” Mollette said. “You would never expect to get a call saying that someone so close to you is just gone all of the sudden. It was a horrific night, one that I would never want to relive again.”

But Mollette said she and other family members will not dwell on that night when they think of Woods, but they will remember her kindness and joy.

“Anyone that you ask about Bridget, they will tell you the same thing — she was just a ball of joy,” Mollette said. “She had you smiling every time you saw her. So no, we will never let it die down. We really want justice for her.”

  • Kimberly Nicole Johnson

    Prayers for you and your family!!!

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