MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – The Haywood County community is mourning the death of 17-year-old Christine Michael, who was shot and killed Friday night after leaving a basketball game in Ripley, Tennessee.
Alyssa Pearman, who taught Michael at Haywood Middle School in 2019, said the two first met in eighth grade. She said Michael was eager to learn and was a bright light for others.
“She had such a gift for making sure everyone was seen and heard, and I know high school is an awkward stage in life that most kids don’t try to do, but she did it naturally,” he said. Elder.
Staying in touch over the years, Pearman took on the role of mother and mentored the 4.0 GPA student who also completed her associate’s degree in high school and was active in sports.
However, it wasn’t until Friday evening that everything changed.
“One of my colleagues, who is like a brother to me, called me because he wanted to tell me before I saw it on the Internet,” Pearman said.
According to the Haywood Sheriff’s Office, Michael was traveling in a car with three friends from a Haywood vs. Ripley basketball game in Ripley around 10 p.m. when someone fired shots at them from another vehicle on Highway 19.
The car fired several times and the bullet hit the 17-year-old in the side.
“And then he said he didn’t do it and I just started crying,” Pearman said.
According to the deputies, a 13-year-old passenger was killed in the same car. The driver was not injured.
Pearman said this is the second time he has lost a student in his career and said one student death is too many.
“We don’t learn to be sad when a student leaves us, we don’t necessarily learn when they leave because of violence, and that’s very exhausting,” Pearman said.
Kevin Davis, 18, and Bishop Owens, 16, were arrested in connection with Michael’s murder. Both are facing attempted first-degree murder, and both are being held without bail.
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