'Role Model' College Student, 18, Who Worked with Homeless Girls Is Killed in 'Random' Shooting

Harriet Sokmensuer
·2 min read

University Prep Schools/Facebook

A community is mourning the loss of an 18-year-old college student who was fatally shot the day after Christmas.

On Dec. 26, Casey Willis was killed in what police are calling a "random shooting" in Detroit's east side, the Detroit News reports. Willis was visiting friends when the shooting occurred, according to a GoFundMe page started to help pay for funeral expenses.

Willis was one of six siblings and was studying at Wayne State University "while working 2 jobs, including Footlocker, where she recently got promoted," the GoFundMe organizer wrote. "She also worked at Alternatives for Girls" — an organization for homeless and at-risk girls and young women — "and just became a Board Member."

According to police, Willis was sitting with a friend in a Honda Civic shortly before 2 a.m. on Saturday when two men approached the car and fired multiple shots into the vehicle, the News and WXYZ reports.

Willis was shot multiple times and died at the scene. No other injuries were reported, police said.

The two suspects fled the area heading south. They are believed to be traveling in a Chevy Impala.

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On Tuesday, several hundred people attended a vigil for the beloved teen.

"She was just so precious," close family friend LaKita Gantz told the News. "She didn't have to speak ... you saw her doing more than talking."

In a Facebook post, Willis's alma mater, University Prep Academy High School, paid tribute to the 2020 graduate.

"Casey is a friend, a sister, and a daughter. At University Prep Academy High School, Casey was a leader, a role model, and a light," the statement read.

Authorities are still searching for the two suspects. Anyone with information is urged to contact Detroit police at 313-596-2260, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-Speak-Up.