By Joe Johnson
Doctors were unable to save the eye of a young Athens girl who recently became the innocent victim of gunplay at a local shopping center.
Ne’vaeh Brown’s mother said that the 5-year-old is scheduled to have her left eye removed next Thursday in preparation for her to later receive a prosthetic one.
The girl has been recovering at an Atlanta children's hospital since becoming an innocent bystander during a shooting incident in Athens.
On the afternoon of April 26 Ne’vaeh was in a class at the Dynamic Dolls of Athens dance studio when a gunfight erupted outside in the parking lot of the Athens Plaza shopping center on North Avenue. A bullet shattered the studio’s window and Ne’vaeh was struck in the left eye by what police said could have been glass or a bullet fragment.
The actual bullet struck another girl in the dance studio, 14-year-old Neveah Hogue, completely passing through her right arm, according to police.
Initially taken to a local hospital, Ne’vaeh was later transferred to the children’s hospital in Atlanta.
Brittanie Wright said that her daughter underwent emergency surgeries in unsuccessful attempts by doctors to save the badly damaged eye.
During the investigation into the shooting, which, remains ongoing, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department has made one arrest, that of Rasheed Ammad Scott, a 38-year-old convicted felon who was out on parole who and has a significant criminal history in Athens. He was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Investigators believe that the gunfight was drug related.
Police said that the entire incident in which Ne’vaeh was injured was recorded by a surveillance camera and that video footage shows four males arguing and then shooting at each other in the Athens Plaza parking lot near the dance studio. After the shooting, one of the males is seen placing a black bag in the trunk of a car.
An investigation of the shootout was continuing, and a reward of up to $1,000 is offered for information that leads to an arrest.
Police asked for anyone with information regarding the incident to contact Detective Paul Johnson at 762-400-7060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anonymous tips can be made by calling the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 706-705-4775.
Wright created a GoFundMe campaign to help her family with Ne’vaeh’s medical expenses.