Deadly Georgia Amber Alert: Family calls gunman 'coward' for killing mother, infant

Peggy Burns remained hospitalized on Thursday after undergoing surgery for injuries she received in the deadly shooting over the weekend. That shooting claimed the life of her daughter and grandchild. It also prompted an Amber Alert.

The victims' family shared images of 1-year-old Jaquari Bennett taking her first steps, the video was taken shortly before the girl and her mother, Keashawn Washington, were shot and killed by Jaquari's father.

Jaquari Bennett

Jaquari Bennett  (Family photo)

Darian Javaris Bennett shot and killed Washington and wounded her mother Peggy Burns at Washington's Covington home Saturday.

He then kidnapped his child, killing the girl and himself behind a church in Riverdale early Sunday.


Darian Javaris Bennett

Darian Javaris Bennett  (Newton County Sheriff’s Office)

Washington's cousin Larry Brooks told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes, "He was a coward. That was his baby that he killed behind that church. That was his 1-year-old that baby took her first steps that day."

Brooks said Washington did everything she could to get away from Bennett, calling the police, getting a restraining order, even getting Brooks and others to intervene.  

"Keashawn made a bad decision with the guy she chose but she knew she made a bad decision and when she wanted to correct the decision it went totally off the rails," said Brooks. "She called police multiple times. That's the part that breaks my heart.  She did call out she did call for help."

Keashawn Washington

Keashawn Washington (Family photo)

However, that only made Bennett angrier. The harassment escalated. Last July, he was arrested and ordered to stay away from Washington after making harassing phone calls and threatening to kill her. The family is now doing what they can for Washington's son and daughter who witnessed their mother's death.

Brooks wants to one day serve as an advocate for victims of domestic violence in his cousin's honor.

Peggy Burns

Peggy Burns  (Family photo)

"I would never want anyone, another woman, another man to feel like there is nowhere to go. When she called the cops, it only escalated the situation because she only got rid of him for a day, got rid of him for an hour," said Brooks.

Two of Washington's children witnessed the shooting. Brooks said they are having a difficult time and will need counseling. The family has started a GoFundMe account to help the surviving family members.