A young mother was fatally shot earlier this month in Indiana and may have been targeted for saying “all lives matter,” the 24-year-old’s family said Sunday.
Jessica Doty Whitaker and three friends were hanging out along the Indianapolis Canal Walk at about 3 a.m. on July 5, WXIN-TV reported.
They argued with another group after one of the people Whitaker was with used a racial slur, her bereaved fiancé, Jose Ramirez, told WXIN.
A racially charged confrontation ensued with the other group, during which the suspect’s group shouted, “Black Lives Matter,” and someone in Whitaker’s group — possibly her — said, “all lives matter,” Ramirez said.
Guns were whipped out, and both sides, seeing that all were armed, backed off, he said.
“It was squashed, and they went up the hill and left, we thought, but they were sitting on St. Clair waiting for us to come under the bridge, and that’s when she got shot,” Ramirez told WXIN.
He fired off a shot in return, but didn’t hit anyone, he said.
“I was actually holding her when it happened,” Ramirez told WTHR-TV. “She just fell. I turned around, and I opened fire too. But that’s just a reaction.”
Whitaker, a home health nurse who WTHR said was on the verge of going back to school and getting married, leaves behind a 3-year-old son as well as her fiancé, mother and numerous other family members.
The shooting was the third in a week in the same area, WTHR reported.
Her bereaved family is left picking up the pieces — and vowing to keep Whitaker in her son’s heart forever.
“I’m never going to get to hold her again,” her mom, Arlena Doty, told WTHR. “I just want the people who are responsible to be held accountable.”
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