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Teen finds mom shot to death after stray bullet hits her in her sleep

Carlether Foley moved to Atlanta a couple of years ago to pursue an acting career. Police say her neighbor was handling a gun when it discharged, killing the mother.

DULUTH, Ga. — A mother and actress is dead after Gwinnett County police said her neighbor shot through a wall while handling a gun, killing her. Her 17-year-old son found her unresponsive in her bed hours later.

That neighbor has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. Now, Carlether Foley's family is trying to raise money to bring her body back home to Houston.

Gwinnett County Police said that after 11 p.m. on Sept. 25, Foley was found with a gunshot wound to the head, inside her McDaniel Road apartment in Duluth. 

Foley's cousin, Ebony Curry, said the 36-year-old was sleeping when a bullet came through her wall and shot her. A few hours later, her 17-year-old son, Keyandre Benjamin, found her and called family.

"That day that it happened, I remember vividly," Curry told 11Alive. "Our mutual cousin gave me a call and she called me hysterically. I couldn't even understand what she was saying. She told me that she believes something happened to Carlether but we didn't know exactly what. They were very nervous about what they were hearing because they had spoken to her son, who called them hysterically saying that he had found his mom unresponsive."

Credit: Provided.

Curry said her cousin was a ball of energy, who moved to Atlanta with her son a couple of years ago to pursue her acting career. She had a lot of dreams and goals left to attain.

"It's very difficult speaking of her and past tense, because it's so recent," Curry said. "I would never in a million years think that we would be burying her. If you're not responsible enough or not trained in having a weapon, just don't do it because a life is lost.”

Police said the 22-year-old neighbor told them he had an "accidental discharge" while he was loading his firearm. His attorney, Jeff Sliz, said his client was cleaning his 9 millimeter pistol at the time.

"He didn't have the magazine in it, but he was cleaning it and apparently there was a bullet in the chamber and it accidentally discharged and went through the wall," Sliz said. 

Sliz said the neighbor, who works as an auto mechanic, didn't call police when his gun discharged because he is enlisting in the Navy to be a diver. 

"He didn't want anything to harm that," Sliz said. "He figured it's just a matter of paying for damages."

Instead, he said he walked next door to try and pay for the damages. As of Friday, he is being held at Gwinnett County Jail with no bond.

"He left his name and number and said 'I'm sorry, I'll be glad to repay any and all damage that I caused', not knowing that there was any problem other than physical damage," added Sliz. "My client is just decimated by it but we obviously know we're not as hurt and grieving as the family of the woman. Our condolences and thoughts and prayers are with them."

Credit: Provided.

Now, Foley's family has been left to grieve and fundraise to bring the beloved mother back to Houston. Curry says Foley's son is currently in Houston with his grandmother and father.

"Everybody's emotions are like a whirlwind. There's ups and downs but he was her only child. So they were best friends," she said. “She was minding her own business in her bedroom with her son in his room sleeping, she was sleeping – well she doze off -- TV was still on. It's just not fair because she had so many hopes and dreams."

Their fundraising page has already reached its $15,000 goal. Curry said the extra money will go towards Benjamin's education fund.

"He found his mom. That image is going to be in his head for the rest of his life," Curry added. "I can't imagine what he's what he's going through and I can't imagine how he's going to be able to focus on his studies. So if we can just help him in any way, to make sure that going to college is a dream realized for him."

As of Monday night, they have reached more than $17,600. 

"Even outside of financial donations, thank you for your prayers, your thoughts, your concerns," Curry said, and urges people to be careful around guns. "My cousin lost her life because someone said they were cleaning their gun and they had a bullet in the chamber. Just really you have to be smart about what you're doing."

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