COLUMBUS (WCMH) — New Police Chief Elaine Bryant became emotional on her first day on the job Friday while discussing the shooting death of 17-year-old Makenzi Ridley.
Ridley, a recent high school graduate bound for college, was shot at the Far East Community Center on Thursday night by an unknown suspect.
“Today is my first day on this job, and today is a grim reminder to me of what this job means and this badge means,” said Bryant, a former deputy chief in Detroit. “This hit me hard. Makenzi, this young lady, was doing what all young people should be doing, enjoying her summer.”
Bryant discussed the shooting at a news conference. She was joined by Mayor Andrew Ginther, Safety Director Ned Pettus and members of Ridley’s family, including her mother, stepfather and uncle.
Seneca Ridley-Turner, Ridley’s mother, told NBC4 her daughter graduated from Northland High School earlier this month. She had also completed her cosmetology requirements from Columbus Downtown High School.
“Makenzi loved doing things with her hands,” said Ridley-Turner. “She wanted to have her own hair store.”
Ridley-Turner said her daughter received four offers to attend different colleges, but she had ultimately planned on attending Wilberforce University.
Now, Ridley-Turner is hoping the person or people who killed her daughter are caught.
“My daughter counts,” she said. “My daughter matters. You don’t just get to go around killing people because you feel like it on any given Thursday. That’s not how life works.”
Bryant and Ginther asked for anyone with information on the shooting to come forward. Bryant said over 100 children were at the center when shots were fired and Ridley was injured.
“We will not stop. We will do everything in our power to ensure we stop this violence,” said Bryant, who said she wants the city’s parks to be safe places.
Ridley’s death marked the city’s 96th homicide of 2021.