School dedicates garden in honor of slain student
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An Augusta school on Tuesday unveiled a garden in memory of an 8-year-old student killed in a drive-by shooting.
Jenkins-White Elementary School students and staff unveiled a new memorial garden for Arbrie Leigh Anthony.
Plenty of people at the gathering were decked out in purple to honor the girl.
Arbrie was a Jenkins-White Elementary School student when she was killed last year.
Mayor Garnett Johnson declared April 25 as Arbrie Anthony Day.
Arbrie was killed in a Jan. 6, 2022, drive-by shooting outside her Dogwood Terrace apartment while she was looking at horses that had been brought to the neighborhood for the kids to see.
From marches to memorials, the community has rallied around her family, calling for an end to gun violence in Augusta.
The tree and bench may look small, but they say it’s a visual representation of the roots she planted in her community and at her school that will continue to grow in more ways than one.
“Days get tough, but things like this keep me going,” said Arthur Anthony, Arbrie’s father.
It’s a simple garden with a big meaning.
Dr. Nisharro Usry-Wilson is the principal of Jenkins-White Elementary. She said, “It’s going to be able to serve several needs: community service, social-emotional learning, and just a place where everybody can come and feel connected to Arbrie.”
One that combines everything she loves.
NancyAnn Conner is with the Brier Creek Soil and Water Conservation District. She said, “Her favorite color is purple, so we are going to incorporate that as much as possible. I was going to have the children paint rocks in purple so we can put them around the tree. I’m in the process of having a unicorn either made for her or found somewhere.”
Usry-Wilson said: “It’s a place where we can reminisce on the energetic spirit Arbrie brought to Jenkins-White, a place where students can go and feel peace and safe place for us. We will be able to incorporate this into some of our counseling sessions.”
And ties it into two places she loved to be the most; outside and school.
“We just wanted to do something special coming up on her birthday and for Earth Day. We’re just gonna tie it all together so that we can have something to start a tradition every year for kids to look forward to,” she said.
Leaving her family beyond grateful.
“Just always keep her name alive. Just good spirits and just keep her name alive. She’s still here. She’s still here,” said Arthur.
A music scholarship from Destiny Music Center will go to a third and fourth-grader in Arbrie’s name.
Authorities don’t believe she was the target of the shooting.
Five suspects have been indicted by a grand jury in Arbrie’s death. No trial has been scheduled yet, and five remain behind bars.
Charged in the shooting are:
- Antoine Rodrigues Redfield, 23, who pleaded not guilty and is still being held without bond in Richmond County jail. Authorities have said they believe he’s the suspect who pulled the trigger in the fatal shooting.
- Kendariss Brown, 32, who pleaded not guilty and is still held without bond in Richmond County jail. He’s tried to get his bond reconsidered as recently as December but was denied.
- Henri Ramone Beach, who pleaded not guilty and was denied bond. He was sent to state prison in August 2022 to finish serving a 20-year sentence for a 2020 robbery by force, and he could be in prison until 2031.
- Destiny Rich, 23, who is still being held without bond in Richmond County jail.
- Antionous Wytell Thomas Jr., 21, who pleaded not guilty and is still being held without bond in Richmond County jail.
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