Online donations were pouring in after it was revealed that the victim of a fatal shooting this week in Florida was a beloved graduate student at an HBCU.
The police said they have not identified any suspects in the shooting death of MaKayla Bryant, who was pursuing a master’s degree at Florida A&M University at the time when was found dead on Wednesday in Tallahassee.
Sorority sisters of the 22-year-old set up a GoFundMe account on Thursday and donations quickly surpassed its $10,000 goal. As of Friday morning, donations were rapidly approaching the new goal of $35,000.
That was likely little solace for Bryant’s family.
“Everyone loved her, and she served her family proud,” Joe Starnes told local news outlet WCTV of his goddaughter and cousin.
Circumstances surrounding the shooting prompted more questions than answers.
Bryant was shot shortly before 5 p.m. at an apartment complex on Wednesday, according to the Tallahassee Police Department, which is still investigating the shooting. She was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The Tallahassee Democrat reported that Bryant was struck by at least one bullet. It is not clear whether she was the intended target of the shooting.
But that is the extent of the information law enforcement has offered the public.
“The loss of a FAMU student always grieves me,” FAMU President Dr. Larry Robinson said in a statement. “I see the promise in every single one of them. Our goal is to prepare each of our students to reach their full potential. Losing one hurts. The FAMU family sends our prayers and condolences to her family.”
Bryant was reportedly an excellent student and graduated magna cum laude from FAMU in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She was also the treasurer of the Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society.
The Chicago native was also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Her sorors arranged the memorial fund “in hopes to relieve the family of any financial stress,” they wrote on the GoFundMe page. “All donations will be directly dispensed to MaKayla’s mother, Lanette Carpenter.”
Bryant’s death comes as gun violence was reaching a fever pitch across the U.S., including an apparent uptick in police officers being shot and a spike in children dying from gunfire.