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Slain pregnant mom's family collects 30 guns in buy-back in her memory

The uncle of Auriel Callaway said he planned to pay for every gun turned in at the event.

ATHENS, Ga. — According to police in Athens, Auriel Callaway was an innocent bystander, caught in the crossfire Monday night while shielding her 3-year-old son from gunfire.

The pregnant woman was shot and killed during that incident. Police said the shooting was the result of an argument. 

Wednesday, police arrested and charged Kiresa Cooper for Callaway's murder. Investigators said they believe Cooper was not the only person involved in the shooting.

Hundreds attended a vigil for Callaway on Thursday.  Her family, friends -- including her 3-year-old son Mason were all there.

Her family said they want to do more to honor her memory. On Sunday afternoon, members of her family held an event to try to get guns off the street. 

Callaway's uncle, Bryant Gantt, put together a gun buy-back event at the VFW Post on Sunset Drive in Athens Sunday afternoon. 

Gantt, who is Director of Player Programs at the University of Georgia, said it's simple. He just wants to get guns off of the streets. He planned to pay for every gun turned in at Sunday's event.

"We don't care where it came from; we don't care what it looks like; we don't care if it works or not," Gantt said. "For everyone that brings a gun out, I'm going to give you $100 cash, no questions asked."

From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Gantt welcomed a steady stream of people, keeping his promise to hand out $100 to anyone willing to turn over their gun. The money came partly from donations, but he dug into his own pockets, too, to cover the rest. 

"If I go in debt trying to save a life…then it’s worth it," he said.

Gantt said he originally came up with the idea of putting together a gun buy-back event a couple years ago. But, seeing the hundreds of people that came out for his niece's vigil a few days ago gave him the motivation to turn the idea into action.

"We got to start here at home first. Make a change here at home," Gantt said. "Stop the violence here at home and then we can move out."

Family said they collected more than 30 guns.


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