Police are searching for Virginia teen Brianna Stewart, who disappeared after officers arrested her mother and charged her with reckless handling of a firearm, for firing a gun into the air to stop an assault on her daughter by a group of boys, according to NBC News 4.
The 15-year-old missing child was last seen at her grandmother’s home where she was taken after the altercation.
According to Brianna’s mom, Lakisha Gaither, her daughter had gotten into an argument with some neighborhood kids on Saturday. An angry teenaged girl, who appeared to be the ring leader, showed up at Gaither’s home accompanied by a group of boys. Gaither decided to discuss the children’s disagreement with the girl’s mother, and when she approached the complex where the other child lived, the same group of boys she had seen earlier walked up to her and Brianna.
Gaither told NBC News 4, one of the boys suddenly punched her child in the eye, knocking out her eyeglass lens. The boy then repeatedly struck Brianna, according to Gaither, who felt she could not stand idly by as her child was attacked. The livid mom, resorted to ending the brutal attack the only way she could at that point, “Because I do open carry, because I’m a registered gun owner and I open carry everywhere I go, I walked out to the middle of the parking lot where I was away from everybody, not near anybody, the not near the buildings or anything, and I unholstered my weapon, held it straight up in the air and shot straight in the air, one shot, to get him off of my child and to break this group up,” Gaither admitted.
Police were summoned to the scene after the gun firing and placed Gaither in cuffs. She was later released from jail.
Fearing that there could be violent repercussions directed towards her daughter, Gaither asked her mother to care for Brianna on the night of the incident. “I just wanted the situation to calm down,” Gaither lamented. “I didn’t want them retaliating,” she told NBC News 4.
Sunday morning, when Brianna’s grandmother went to check on her, she was nowhere to be found.
Brianna has not been seen or heard from since Saturday night. According to Gaither, who is fraught with worry over her child, “I don’t know where she [is]. I don’t know if she’s OK; I don’t know if she’s safe; I don’t know if she’s hurt. There’s been no activity on her Facebook.”
Stewart is 5’9″, weighs 160 pounds and has dimples on her cheeks.
Anyone with information about Brianna should contact the Fairfax County police department at 703-246-7892.