Grandmother second bystander killed by Columbus gunfire in last six months

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:00 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Neighbors and family of Barbara Luke say the grandmother was just minding her business when she was killed on Delray Drive in Columbus.

Family members of the 71-year-old say she will be remembered for always trying to do the right thing.

Her grandson, understandably, did not want to speak on camera. But he says he wants her to be remembered as someone who would give anyone the shirt off her back.

”It’s a sad day in Columbus, Georgia when we can’t even get in our cars and go to the store without having to worry about getting shot,“ said Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan.

The coroner says Luke was killed a few houses down from where she lived in east Columbus. He says a bullet struck her while driving along Delray Drive Sunday afternoon.

The circumstances surrounding why someone shot the retired General Motors employee of 30 years are still unknown, but one man describes the east Columbus neighborhood as a war zone.

“Four or five weeks ago, three o’clock in the morning, we had a shootout in the exact spot where this lady was killed,” a Delray Drive resident said. “Now, I’m an old retired army sergeant and I’ve heard a lot of weapons fired, but this thing just roared.”

It’s a terrifying, but all too familiar sound for so many people who live in the area.

Luke is the second innocent bystander in Columbus to lose their life in gun cross fire.

You may remember 12-year-old Cortez Richardson was also shot and killed in east Columbus, in a neighborhood not far from Luke’s. He was just in a vehicle with his family coming home from dinner when he was shot through the back window.

“When an incident happens here like the killing on Sunday, the cops will drive through here on a regular basis for a couple of days then they go home,” the Delray Drive resident added.

Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon says CPD is investigating several shootings in the area and urges anyone with information on Barbara Luke’s death to contact the Columbus Police Department.

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