COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) – Almost a week ago, a shooting at a Columbus community center ended a young woman’s life and now a 15-year-old is charged with murder.

A’Tayia Nichols, 24, was killed in a shooting on June 15, leaving behind her two-year-old son. Nichols’ mother, Latonya Nichols, said she just lost her best friend.

Nichols said she is broken and angry. She said A’tayia was the light and joy of her life, and with that light now going dark, she is not sure where to go from here.

“Like I said, my babies are special,” Nichols said. “She was silly, she was loud, she was protective. Everything that somebody could be is my daughter.”

Nichols said she can remember the day A’Tayia took her first breath and now, how she held her as she took her last because of gun violence.

“I can’t describe it. I relieve it every night. I haven’t slept since Wednesday. She said, ‘Sorry.’ I don’t know if it’s ‘sorry I’m not going to be here’ or ‘sorry she got shot,’” Nichols said.

A’Tayia was killed last Wednesday at a shooting near the Glenwood Community Center, another 18-year-old was also injured. The accused shooter, 15-year-old Avent’Tay Soloman, was injured as well.

He is now in police custody being tried as an adult, charged with murder and felonious assault.

“I’m angry that he had a gun, but he’s a kid. But he shouldn’t have had a gun. Now my G isn’t getting his mommy back,” Nichols said.

A’Tayia had a two-year-old son that Nichols will now help raise. She said he has all the best qualities of his mom.

“Yeah, that’s J. That’s my heart. G-money, that’s my little heart,” Nichols said.

This is the second child Nichols has lost to gun violence. In 2020, her son Nofeir was shot and killed.

“I honestly never owned up to my son being dead,” Nichols said. “I just put it in my head that he was away at camp because it was so final. I still call and text his phone every day. So now I had to admit that I have two babies gone to gun violence to someone under the age of 21 doing it.”

She said she feels distraught but is also motivated to fight for change.

“We have to demonstrate, we have to protest. I don’t care if we just sit at city hall and make them listen to us – something has to be done,” Nichols said.

Nichols said she is not sure what to say to her grandson every time he asks where his mommy is. She said she will not stop fighting until this violence stops.