A mother of two young children is dead and police in Colerain Township, Ohio are on the hunt for at least two suspects after they entered a home where a gender-reveal party was being held and opened fire.
Autum Garrett, 22, of Huntington, Indiana was a guest at her cousin’s party July 8 and died due to her injuries. There were eight other victims in the shooting, three children and five adults, all who are expected to survive.
The two suspects fled the scene and a motive for the shooting is not yet known, Colerain Township Police PIO Jim Love told WLWT News 5.
“As of right now, I do not know what instigated this,” Love said. “I do not know how this got started.”
The case took an odd turn July 17 when police said the subject of the gender-reveal party, Cheyanne Willis, 21, was never pregnant in the first place. Cops accused her of lying about her pregnancy and providing them false information as they investigate the matter.
“Sadly, the police department, media and public have been given information we have found to be false,” Colerain Police explained in a statement July 17. “Hours and days have been wasted following leads known to be lies when they were provided to our officers. From the very beginning of this investigation, we have met significant resistance that is uncommon from victims of crime wanting a resolution.”
In many posts to her social media accounts, Garrett is seen smiling alongside her two children — a son and a daughter — and husband, who were also victims in the shooting.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Eight Others in the Incident Suffered ‘Non-Life Threatening’ Injuries, Police Said
Colerain Township Police Chief Mark Denney said at least two suspects entered the home on Capstan Drive around 11:30 p.m. July 8 and started shooting at party guests, who were all watching a movie together in the living room. He added that there were more people at the party at the time, but it’s unknown if anyone was targeted by the shooters.
“Obviously with nine people shot, we have to gather how many people were in the room at the time and figure that out during our witness statements,” Denney said at a press conference.
The three injured children, ages 2, 6 and 8 were taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said. The five adult victims were taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, a spokeswoman told Fox 19 news, and their identities weren’t immediately released by authorities.
In chilling dispatch audio, a woman at the party who called 9-1-1 is heard saying “they just ran in and started shooting. There’s a pregnant woman here, they kept on running.”
Screams can be heard in the background of a call made by a male at the party, who said he looked outside to see the suspects. In just seconds, he saw them run inside and “just started shooting.”
To listen to the full, 22 minutes of dispatcher audio, click here.
A family friend named Candice Verga told WLWT News 5 that she was at the party earlier in the day and described it as being a “positive” and “happy” environment. She heard the shots fired and said that she ran back into the home to help.
“Everybody’s screaming and crying and it’s just all panic and I’m even shaking and everything,” she said to the news station. “I seen the little boy on the floor and I grabbed him … everybody else was tending to everybody, but he was laying there crying, so I wrapped up my shirt … first thing is put pressure, and then we carried him outside.”
2. Garrett’s Pregnant Cousin Said She Lost Her Unborn Baby in the Shooting, but Police Said She Was Never Pregnant
The party was for Willis, who was Garrett’s cousin. Willis said she was holding the party to learn the gender of her baby, who was later revealed as a baby boy.
In a post to Facebook, She took a moment to thank those that came out for her special day, including the Garretts, just three hours before the shooting suspects entered the home and started firing.
“Family is everything,” she wrote. “Thank y’all for coming and showing support and love ???”
Hours later, she was at a hospital finding out she would no longer be having her son because of an injury she suffered in the shooting, or so she told the media and police.
While on crutches and off camera, Willis told FOX 19 NOW and other news outlets that she was shot in the leg and is “no longer pregnant.”
But Colerain police are now saying that Willis lied and made up her pregnancy. They said in a statement that they haven’t identified or arrested any suspects in the case yet, and Willis has continuously provided false information to them.
“We were led to believe an unborn child was murdered in this incident only to find out that is not the case,” police said. “The Coletain Police Department will not comment further on any other misleading information, other than to say we wish our time had been spent on true leads that would help us remove these dangerous criminals from the streets.”
For more information about Willis, click below.
3. Garett’s 2 Children &Amp; Her Husband Are Among the Injured, Her Cousin Said
A Facebook post by one of Garrett’s cousins says that her husband, Bryan, and her two children were also victims in the deadly shooting.
The cousin has provided numerous updates on Bryan and the children’s condition and said that despite initially being unresponsive at a hospital and in intensive care, he’s recovering. She said that he broke his leg in two different places, while the kids “are OK” and “will be discharged soon.”
According to Bryan’s Facebook page, he lives in Andrews, Indiana and works for General Motors on its assembly line. He and Autum were high school sweethearts, both attending Huntington North High School, about 110 miles northeast of Indianapolis. They got married June 8, 2013, and their Facebook pages are filled with photos of them smiling happily together with their two children.
Before getting married, Autum’s last name was Smith, a list of graduates for Huntington North’s Class of 2013 said. Bryan went on to study welding at Ivy Tech Community College, his Facebook profile said.
4. Garrett Had a Baby Boy With Bryan When She Was 19
Garrett’s Facebook says that she worked at Onward Manufacturing in Huntington on its assembly line starting in 2016. Prior to that, she also worked at United Technologies Corporation.
A post to her Facebook page on July 21, 2016 says that she was 19 when she gave birth to her first son, Bryan Eugene Garrett Jr. In a survey post to her Facebook, she said that she “cried” because she was so scared after seeing the positive test.
In another post to her Facebook, she writes at length about how proud she ended up being to be a mother. In the post, Garrett writes a letter to her first son alongside a collage of his photos, saying “I would give my life for you because I just love you that much.”
I will do anything thing and everything to make sure you are happy and have an amazing life as a child and on… Your smile makes me feel so good, it lets me know you are happy and that’s all I want in life is for you to be happy! You have so much life ahead of you and I’m just going to hold your hand and walk you through life and teach you things, have fun, and love you no matter what you do, because no matter how bad it is I will forgive you before you even ask baby boy, I will bend over backwards for you, I would give my life for you because I just love you that much and I’ll do what it takes to protect you!
5. A GoFundMe Page Was Set up to Support Garrett’s Family
Garrett’s cousin Ashley set up a GoFundMe page to support her family in a time of need. In 11 hours, the campaign raised over $1,200 of its initial $5,000 goal.
The description on the campaign described Garrett as a “loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, grad daughter, cousin and niece.”
My cousin Autum Garrett was involved in a tragic incident at a gender reveal party in Cincinnati, OH, in which she was shot and murdered. Her two children and her husband were also injured along with other guests at the party. The girl that was pregnant and it was her party also lost her baby during the incident. Our family lost a loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, grand daughter, cousin and niece. She has always been such a loving and caring person with the biggest heart and smile to everyone around her and she didn’t deserve this! Please in anyway that you can donate to help provide for whatever her immediate family may need at this time. It would be greatly appreciated.
Ashley has been using the GoFundMe page to provide updates as the the condition of Bryan and the rest of the family.
To donate to the GoFundMe campaign, click here.