More than a hundred friends and family members gathered Monday to mourn the death of an 18-year-old girl who was shot multiple times after walking in on several intruders at an apartment in Stone Mountain last week.
Police said they are still searching for the three to six gunmen who shot and killed Ms. Vanessa Marie Malone, aka “Honey”, on Tuesday at the Hampton Village Apartments.
Investigators said the men were wearing all black and armed with handgun and shotguns when they kicked in the apartment at 6902 Tree Mountain Pkwy. around 10 p.m. that day.
Three people were in the home when the men kicked in the door, police said. Ms. Malone, the fourth victim, arrived a short time later, according to DeKalb County police.
Mr. Travares Benford, 23, said he was lying in bed with his girlfriend, Ms. India Smith, when he heard a loud noise at the front door and then three men enter, ordering them to the ground.
Ms. Smith told police she saw five to six men.
Once on the ground, Mr. Benford said one of the men grabbed his wallet. Ms. Smith told police one of them grabbed her cell phone.
Then they said they were both bound.
“Mr. Benford advised he was tied up with a black belt and Ms. Smith was tied up with an unknown object and they were both made to lay in the bath tub in the rear of the house,” according to a police report.
It was then that Ms. Smith said Ms. Malone arrived at the home.
Ms. Smith told police she heard the teen screaming and then she heard Ms. Malone running. Then Ms. Smith said she heard several shots and a moment later, she heard the suspects bring the victim back into the location and put her in the rear, according to the report.
Mr. Benford said he was afraid after hearing the gunfire and waited 15 to 20 minutes before untying himself and Ms. Smith. He then called for help on his cell phone.
The responding deputy arrived around 10:18 p.m. to the complex.
“Once at the rear of the location, I located a female victim unconscious and not breathing lying on her right side with several gunshot wounds to her body,” the deputy said.
“I observed damaged to the front door. Two foot prints was noticed, also, damage near the deadbolt lock.”
The deputy later learned that one of the victims, named Mercy, left before deputies arrived.
Ms. Malone’s funeral was held at 1 p.m. at First St. Paul A.M. E. Church in Lithonia. She leaves behind her parents, one sister and two brothers.
“She taught us that life is not promised to anyone and that every moment has to be seen as a valuable opportunity,” according to a statement printed in the program. “Vanessa taught us that we should never look toward tomorrow to change, but take advantage of our today.
“Her ability to create friendships touched many people of all walks of life.”
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