A pregnant Georgia mom holding the hand of her 3-year-old son was killed Monday night by a stray bullet as she tried to shield him from an outbreak of gunshots outside her home.
The victim was 24-year-old Auriel Callaway, of Athens, Georgia, according to Athens-Clarke County police spokesman Geof Gilland, who spoke to reporters at the scene.
Callaway died after being taken to the hospital, he said.
She was due in December. Her unborn child also did not survive.
Eight people taken into custody for questioning about the shooting have since been released with no charges filed, reports Fox 5 Atlanta.
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Family members of the victim said she grabbed her son and ran as an argument between two groups of people outside of her Clarke Gardens apartment about 9:30 p.m. led to shots being fired, reports WSB-TV.
“She was a beautiful soul, you know, gentle – she really wasn’t out here as much, she was pregnant, a beautiful soul,” witness Jermaine Arnold told the outlet. “God took her away from us too early.”
Gilland said it was not clear whether Callaway was an intended or accidental target.
One neighbor told FOX 5 that Callaway was shielding her son, and simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Police said the 3-year-old was unharmed and being cared for by relatives.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Athens-Clarke County police at (706) 613-3330.