Family members remember loved ones, call for justice following Clay Street double homicide
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Three months have passed since two middle aged women, and best friends were shot and killed on Clay Street in Columbus.
The families of Ronisha “Nikki” Anderson, 51, and Juantonja “Tonja” Richmond, 52, recently spoke with WTVM News Leader 9 via Zoom as they all are living in other states.
Ronisha’s sisters, Joyce, Therasa, and Michelle along with Juantonja’s sister, Danita Tate, and family representative and friend Andrionna Williams, are all speaking out for the very first time since the tragedy unfolded March 7, 2023.
Both families are still struggling to move through with their daily lives without their loved ones. Therasa stated, “It baffles us, the way that they were murdered, it’s heinous, it’s wicked, it’s cruelty and we have no idea why someone would do that to 2 women.”
The families are not sure of a motive for the crime, but what they believe, is the two women were going to get food when they met a barrage of gunfire in the driveway of the home, located at Clay Street around noon time.
The Anderson family described Ronisha as a loving mother, and peacemaker who represented love in every way.
“Her grandsons were writing little notes and pushing it over to me when we went out to eat, and it would say, I want my grandma back and another one wrote her name out and said I want my Nisha back,” said Joyce.
The Andersons also said, “Someone murdered our sister, and we need someone to come forward, who knows something because there’s no perfect crime and vengeance is God.” She was not related to gang activity, violence or anything of that sort, they added.
Williams also expressed the passion Juantonja had for the military, as a disabled Army veteran with Multiple Sclerosis.
“They said that she was someone that they could always count on. She never complained,” said Williams.
Now, after being served a tremendous loss, both families want justice.
“There’s no reasonable explanation as to why something like this would occur, who would want to hurt our sister, we don’t know, but we hope the police will find out something about that,” said Ronisha’s sister Michelle.
“Nikki did not dislike anyone, and nobody disliked Nikki,” explained Therasa.
“When I tell you she has never had a real argument in her life, she never met a stranger. She would crack jokes with anyone she met in the store, or on the streets. What happened to her is unbelievable to know that she would die from being murdered,” recalled Danita Tate.
“She served this country proudly, boldly, and even up until her death, that was something that she respected and was very proud of it. She could make the devil smile even on his worse day. She would feed you, and she would help you in any way that she could. She did not deserve what she got. It was a senseless murder in broad daylight,” added Williams.
Juantonja fought in the war in Kuwait, and was honorably discharged due to her diagnosis, according to Danita.
Williams also expressed frustration with the ongoing investigation, and urged authorities to push for answers.
News leader 9 asked what message the families had to the investigator assigned to the case, and CPD’s new interim Chief Stoney Mathis, “You need to actively investigate these murders as if it was your mom, your sister, or your loved one, God forbid, and don’t treat us like we are the problem. said Williams.
Williams was referring to a conversation she said she had with a CPD investigator recently whom she claimed was belligerent and rude to her over the phone.
The first investigator assigned to the case was placed on medical leave shortly after the murders happened, according to Williams.
She also said the entire process has been frustrating from the very beginning. From getting answers from police, and most recently, with conflicting reports from authorities who stated ballistics results were found in the shooting, then being told recently, no ballistics results were found in the crime lab.
News Leader 9 reached out to the Columbus Police Department requesting for an update on the case.
CPD provided us with the following statement, “Investigators in the Columbus Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit are working diligently to bring the case to a resolve and, more importantly, bring the victims’ family’s closure. Right now, we are awaiting results from the GBI crime lab. Once an update is available, we will be sure to pass it along,” according to CPD’s Director of Community Affairs/PIO, Brittany Santiago.
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