Jarron Deajon Pridgeon is the man accused of fatally shooting five children ages 1 to 9 and his brother in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 2. The children, their aunt says, were going to “change the world.”
Lynn Hamlin, the press officer for the Muskogee Police Department, said in a Tuesday afternoon news conference that Pridgeon, 25, is the suspect in the shooting. He was arrested with a gun after the shooting, police said, adding that an officer fired at him and missed. Johnny Teehee, chief of the Muskogee Police Department, said an officer fired one shot with a rifle as the suspect ran from the scene, The New York Times reported.
A 911 call brought police to the home around 1:30 a.m. According to KFOR, investigators say Pridgeon made the initial 911 call.
At the time of the news conference, Pridgeon had not been cooperative in sharing information with police, according to Hamlin.
“Shock, disbelief, a great deal of sadness,” Hamlin said, describing the community’s reaction to the deaths. “We’re concerned about our officers, the families. It affects our whole community.” She confirmed all of the victims were shot.
Police named the victims as Jalaiya Pridgeon (1), Jaidus Pridgeon (3), Harmony Anderson (5), Neveah Pridgeon (6), Que’dynce Anderson (9) and Javarion Lee (24), the suspect’s brother. The children’s mother, Brittany Anderson, was also shot. She survived the attack and is in the hospital.
On Wednesday, Pridgeon was charged with six counts of first-degree murder, one count of shooting with intent to kill and possession of firearms after a felony conviction, according to court documents.
Here’s what you need to know:
Pridgeon Lived in the Home With the 7 Victims
In the Tuesday afternoon press conference, Hamlin said, “All of the people involved did live in that home when the shooting took place. Five of the children are deceased. One was transported to the hospital and died later. There’s another victim at the hospital.”
Neighbor Susan Dvorak told KTUL-TV the family moved in about a month before the shooting.
According to Tulsa TV station KOTV, the children’s aunt — Raven Anderson, who is Brittany Anderson’s sister — said Brittany Anderson is the mother of all five children who died in the shooting, and Pridgeon is the father of three of the children.
“She loves her children and I am just gonna ask to pray for Brittany. It doesn’t matter what her past is, pray for her now,” said Kenyonne Derrick, who told KTUL-TV she mentored Brittany Anderson in 2015.
Pridgeon Has a Criminal History
Pridgeon has three prior cases in Muskogee County, according to state online court records. One case was listed as a criminal felony for “larceny of automobile.”
It said a warrant was issued for his arrest in 2017. His attorney asked to withdraw from the case, saying that Pridgeon hadn’t paid and didn’t stay in touch. The prosecutor made a motion for a mental health and competency evaluation of Pridgeon in that case. The felony charge was dismissed after being amended to misdemeanor counts, court records say. He was declared indigent. He was accused of taking a woman’s Ford Taurus:
The second case was also a felony. The charges were “assault, battery, or assault and battery with a dangerous weapon,” and “threaten to perform act of violence,” and “malicious injury to property.”
The complaint says that Pridgeon “threw two large pieces of cement at the victim.” One piece struck an apartment door, and the other piece struck the victim on the right side of her torso, causing a visible wound.
The third case was a criminal misdemeanor. The charges were “obstructing and resisting an officer” and “possession of a controlled dangerous substance.” He was accused of pulling away from an officer and refusing to provide his name, as well as possessing marijuana.
The Children Were Going to ‘Change the World,’ Anderson’s Sister Says
A GoFundMe page to help Brittany Anderson was set up by her sister, Raven Anderson.
“My name is Raven Anderson, I am Brittany Anderson’s sister. Today, February 2, 2021, an incident occurred where my sister was brutally attacked and 5 of her children were killed. Their names were Jalaiya (2), Jaidus(3), Harmony(5), Nevaeh(6), and Quedynce who had just turned 9 on January 12th,” the organizer wrote.
“My sister is still in critical condition, but we have the upmost faith that she will pull through. My nieces and nephew had bright futures ahead of them and I know they were going to change the world, but God needed them more than we did, so he called them home sooner than we could’ve ever expected.”
The page continues:
As much as we wish we could, we can’t change what happened. All we can do now is be strong for Brittany and make sure that her beautiful angels rest in peace. We are going to do our best to give the children the home-going they deserve and if you’d like to help us do that we are accepting and appreciate any and all donations. If you cannot donate, we appreciate your prayers just as much. We ask that you please continue to pray for Brittany and her kids, please keep them in your minds and hearts. It is a very difficult time for our family, but we will get through this with God and you all on our side.
The Mayor Said the Community Is ‘Paralyzed With Grief’
Marlon Coleman, the mayor of Muskogee, said in a statement, “Today tragedy struck our community the likes of which we have not seen in decades. Many of us went to bed resting in anticipation of tomorrow’s hopes, only to have awakened to know that five babies with unlimited potential are no longer with us; their lives taken prematurely, their families grappling with a new horror, and our community paralyzed with grief.”
He added, “Even though the suspect is in custody, no court of law or sentencing phase can restore this loss of life. As more details unfold in the coming days I’m asking our community to express its concerns by being resolute in its ability to care for one another and to pray for the families of those involved. Our love for each other, our community and our faith will see us through.”
According to KJHR, two of the victims went to Creek Elementary.
“We are saddened by this tragic loss and our deepest sympathies go out to all of those impacted,” Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, superintendent of Muskogee Public Schools, said to KJHR. “No words can adequately express our sadness in losing these students and our thoughts and prayers are with this family.”
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