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'The grandfather will not rest easy until justice is served': Friends mourn after teen shot, killed

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office said it expects to release more details in the coming days on who shot the Mount Zion High School senior on Tuesday night.

MOUNT ZION, Ga. — Friends and family of 17-year-old Candace Chrzan said she had a big heart, beautiful personality, and inviting soul.

She loved playing the clarinet for the Mount Zion High School marching band and, behind closed doors, loved to sing.

After her death Tuesday night, those who loved her said there's a big void in their lives.

"Everywhere Candace went, that smile with those dimples were on her face," said family friend Tiffany Cantrell.

Cantrell has known Candace for at least 10 years, both through marching band and personally. Cantrell's son was in Candace's same class since elementary school.

She's also best friends with Candace's grandparents who raised the Mount Zion senior all her life.

Credit: Provided
Candace Chrzan

"No family should ever have to bury a child at this age," said Cantrell. "As you can imagine, this is one of the hardest things all of us have ever went through. The grandfather will not rest easy until justice is served for Candace."

Justice for what the Carroll County Sheriff's Office called a "horrible accident." The office said the 17-year-old was with friends in the backyard of a home when someone shot her.

As of Thursday night, they have not said what exactly happened or if any charges will be filed, only that Candace knew the person who shot her.

"This is also for the grandparents. They would like for people to know how they feel about the situation," Cantrell said. "We don't believe that guns kill people. We believe people kill people and whether there was foul play involved or not in this situation, that gun ended up in the hands of a minor who should not have had possession of that weapon. Somebody out there has to take responsibility and accountability for that."

The student was killed Tuesday at around 8 p.m. in the area of Bowdon Junction Road in Mount Zion.

Now, Cantrell and others honor her through tattoos and Facebook posts.

Credit: Provided
Candace Chrzan's friends remember her by getting tattoos.

"Candace would not want us all to be sitting around and be sad," she said. "As hard as that is to hear, she would want us to be celebrating the precious memories we all have with her and smile because if she were here that's what she would be telling all of us."

Candace was close to graduating and even had picked up her cap and gown. During her free time, she worked at Dairy Queen, where she worked with Autum Parker.

"She was the sweetest person and crazy and loud," Parker recalled. "She would make you just feel amazing about anything. Her giggle! It's the giggle. Anytime you'd hear the giggle you'd be like Candace is clocked in now!"

Credit: Provided
Candace Chrzan

21-year-old Parker was in the marching band with Candace, who she's known for more than six years.

"This one hurt because the community of Mount Zion has had many losses in a lot of years all at once and this one is just awful," she said.

It's on the same Mount Zion High School field where, come Wednesday at 2 p.m., Candace's service will be held.

"Please pray for the family and the friends," said Cantrell. "This is going to be a very hard service to make it through. We just want everybody in the community to know how much we love the support and we appreciate it."

One online fundraiser said that Chrzan, a member of the Mount Zion marching band, "always had a smile on her face and love in her heart." It, and another campaign, have raised more than $10,000 so far, with the money going to help her family with funeral expenses.

"They're distraught, overwhelmed, they're very grateful for the community support and the donations going out," said Cantrell. "Overwhelmed with love but overwhelmed with heartache."

Credit: Carroll County Sheriff's Office
Candace Chrzan

RELATED: Teen shot, killed in what sheriff's office calls 'horrible accident'

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