COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Along with remembering Ma’Khia Bryant’s life, there are also people demanding changes with policing, with protests taking to the streets of Columbus for the second night.
Some of Bryant’s friends and one of her teachers talked about how the 16-year-old who was shot dead by Columbus Police officer Nicholas Reardon Tuesday afternoon.
Bryant had only been a student at Independence High School since February, but even just knowing her for a couple of months, her business education teacher Austin Owens said he could tell she had a bright future.
“She was going to run the world and she wasn’t going to be ostentatious about it,” Owens said. “She was going to do it.”
On the same day she was shot, Owens said Bryant emailed him about her five-year plan.
“The language she used in her five-year plan was somebody who desperately wanted better for her life,” he said. “And she wanted to make her parent proud. She wanted to be a productive citizen. I’m not paraphrasing – these are her exact words.”
Owens said she was an amazing student who chose to sit in the front of the class. Her five-year plan went into incredible detail about how she was going to go to college and open her own eyelash salon.
He said he’s heartbroken Bryant won’t be able to live out those dreams.
“To get that information from a student who’s taking the time to reach out to you, to e-mail about something they want to do in the future and to have that removed, it’s hard,” Owens said.
Some of Bryant’s friends are experiencing the heartache, too. They spoke at a vigil Wednesday night, saying she loved singing, dancing, and wanted to be a YouTuber.
“Her actions that day do not define who she was as a person before that,” friend Zion Davis said. “I want them to know she was smart, she was beautiful, she was amazing. An amazing person and her having that knife that day did not define her in any way.”
The shooting is under investigation by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and it could be a while before the results of that probe are released.