HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF) — To her friends and family, 20-year-old Brenleigh Kitchens was the woman who could light up any room.
“She was bigger than life,” Amy Cooter, Kitchens’ family friend says. “She was so tiny, but her presence was so huge. When she walked in a room, you couldn’t help but see that fiery red curly hair and bright eyes.”
The Lakeside High School graduate loved dancing and playing basketball. Her life was cut short Wednesday night when she was shot at least once in the head. She was placed on life support and succumbed from her injuries Thursday. Her body has been transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory for an autopsy.
Kitchens’ ex-boyfriend, 20-year-old Jaden Ross, was arrested in connection with the crime just hours after the shooting. He has been charged with Murder, Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime.
“She loved life, and that boy took it,” Loren Woodruff, Kitchens’ mother, claims.
Investigators have not released a motive, but Kitchens’ mother, Loren Woodruff, believes the shooting was planned.
“He would call her and blow up her phone. He was volatile and is the devil. He planned this. He put on Snapchat that he was going to ‘F**k Brenleigh Kitchens up.'”
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office could not confirm the existence of the Snapchat post pending an ongoing investigation.
Woodruff tells NewsChannel 6 her daughter was Facetiming a friend when Ross allegedly arrived at her home. That friend saw the shooting happen over the phone, according to Woodruff. One neighbor tells NewsChannel 6 she heard at least three gunshots. Several people in the community were surprised to wake up and see caution tape surrounding Kitchens’ home Thursday morning.
“It’s always been quiet around here until this incident last night,” Winston Harris says. “It really threw us all for a loop. Everyone in the neighborhood came up and said, ‘Oh my goodness, what’s happening here?’ We didn’t know.”
“The only one who can bring her through all of this is God,” he adds.
A GoFundMe has been created to help Kitchens’ family pay for funeral expenses.