HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF) — When Shelby Freeman picked up her cellphone Wednesday, she had no idea it would be the last time she would speak with her best friend, Brenleigh Kitchens.
“She was the most selfless, kindest person I ever had the opportunity to meet,” Freeman says. “She showed me what a real friend was.”
Kitchens and Freeman were speaking to each other over Facetime Wednesday night when Kitchens heard a knock on the door of her Hephzibah home.
“She told me, ‘I have a weird feeling that’s Jaden.’ I told her I was going to stay on the phone with her. She opened the door and immediately told him that he needed to leave. There was a lot of cursing.”
Freeman tells NewsChannel 6 she then heard the voice of 20-year-old Jaden Ross, Kitchens’ ex-boyfriend.
“She was trying to get him out. She told him multiple times, ‘Jaden, I’ll call the cops.’ She was so scared that she grabbed a kitchen knife. There was a lot of yelling. Then I heard, ‘Jaden, you just pulled a gun on me.’ He was like, ‘You have a knife pulled on me.’ She said, ‘You’re in my house. I’m asking you to leave.’ Then, it was just bam, bam, bam. She hit the ground, and the call ended.”
Kitchens was shot at least once in the head. She was transported to Augusta University Medical Center and placed on life support. She succumbed to her injuries Thursday. Freeman says she “fought for her life.”
Ross was arrested shortly after the shooting. He has been charged with Murder, Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime.
News of the shooting quickly traveled to Lakeside High School, Kitchens’ alma mater. Friends and former classmates are paying tribute to her at a rock memorial in front of the school. Kitchens’ friends and family believe her memory will live on, especially in the dozens of people she will donate her organs to.
“She’s going to save 122 lives. That’s exactly what she would have wanted.”
A GoFundMe has been created to help Kitchens’ family pay for funeral expenses.