• 'It's just devastating': Parents react to daughter being shot, paralyzed

    By: Zachary Hansen, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:
    ATLANTA -

    Two parents remain devastated after their 19-year-old daughter was shot and paralyzed while driving in southwest Atlanta a week ago, and they still don’t know who committed the crime.

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    Deanna and Michael Craddick spoke to Channel 2 Action News about the incident, which lodged a bullet in their daughter Daeja’s spine.

    “It’s just devastating,” Deanna Craddick said, trying to hold back tears. “No one should ever get that call. No one.”

    The freshman at Clark Atlanta University started her first semester in September, and she had ambitions to work in the fashion industry, her parents told Channel 2. However, that bullet has put those plans on hold.

    “At this point, they’re unsure if she’ll be able to walk again. We’re just kind of waiting to see what happens,” Deanna Craddick said. “Her spirits were pretty good, but she still has nightmares about what happened.”

    Daeja Craddick told Atlanta police a woman shot her as she drove through the intersection of Lawton Street and Lucile Avenue, which is near the university’s campus. She lost control of her Acura sedan when she was hit, causing her to jump a curb and crash.

    Police haven’t made an arrest, but they said this shooting likely isn’t random.

    “She did all the things she was supposed to do to get the opportunity that she received. Someone took that from her,” Michael Craddick said.

    The family set up a GoFundMe account to pay for her medical expenses. As of Thursday morning, it has raised about $2,600 of its $100,000 fundraising goal.

    This incident happened two days before a Morehouse College student was carjacked at gunpoint, which almost caused him to miss a family member’s funeral in Louisiana. 

    Morehouse and Clark Atlanta are part of the Atlanta University Center consortium.

    Within the next five days, two other armed carjackings took place nearby. On Tuesday, a second Morehouse College student was held at gunpoint and had his car stolen. On Wednesday, a Lyft driver was robbed after dropping off a customer. 

    After the third carjacking, Atlanta police said the department will be adding more resources to the neighborhood, including tactical teams and undercover officers. 

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