Vigil held for Austell shooting victims as suspect arrested
Following a deadly shooting that left two people dead and one wounded in an apartment in South Cobb, friends and neighbors gathered to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of one of the women killed the morning of July 11 at the Premier Apartments.
Lena Wolfe, 24, who was known as Kayla Bryant to friends and family, was another of three.
She was one of two people killed in the shooting. The other was Jeremy Davis, 27. Yolanda Spiller, the third victim, was shot in the head, but the 36-year-old is expected to survive her injuries.
We Thrive in Riverside Renters Association and the Thrive Resource Center held a vigil for Bryant and the other victims and a food and clothing drive for her family. Bryant is survived by her fiancé, Wendell Evans, and three children ages five, four, and four months.
In the wake of the shootings, Police arrested Lester Piercefield and charged him with the fatal shooting of Wolfe and Davis, and the shooting of Spiller.
Police officers responded to the scene around 4:20 a.m. Monday after Spiller, who was shot in the head, was able to call 911 to the scene. Officers found Davis and Wolfe dead upon arrival. A wounded Spiller was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in critical condition.
A SWAT team in Paulding County arrested Piercefield following the shootings. “Our detectives worked tirelessly to develop leads and identify the suspect,” Cobb police wrote on social media. “Special thanks to the Paulding County SWAT team for executing the warrant and taking the suspect into physical custody.” Piercefield was arrested by the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force.
According to jail records, Piercefield was arrested around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday and booked into the jail around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Detectives have not revealed a motive in this case or Piercefield’s connection to the people who were shot. Piercefield remains in the Cobb County jail and is not eligible for bond. The Dallas, Georgia, suspect faces two counts of murder and three counts of aggravated assault.
Monica DeLancy, the vigil organizer and the founder of the renters’ association and resource center that operates out of the Silver Creek complex said, “I knew her because she would come to different workshops, she would come to different events right here at the center, so I know she loved her family, I know she was a woman of character.” DeLancy said her group had organized the event to ensure that Evans felt supported and had some of what he needed to continue supporting the couple’s children.
Cynthia McGarity and her family attended the vigil and are involved in gun violence prevention organizations. She started the nonprofit Rehoboth Family Services in 1988 to help families in the south Cobb community affected by violence and other issues related to the criminal justice system. McGarity’s son, Malcolm Webb, was shot and killed in Paulding County in 2016. So she understands the violence impacting Bryant’s family and the Silver Creek community. McGarity said it was important for her to be there to support Evans and his family. “We will work with this family and help them go through the different levels, we have children involved,” McGarity said. “There are support services for families but most times, people are not aware what’s available because most times they don’t expect this, no one expects that their loved ones might be taken like that. It changes your whole world.”