The gunshot jolted Montureous Smith awake. When his cousins started screaming, the 15-year-old began to pray.
Please. Not my sister.
Montureous ran up the stairs from his great-grandmother's basement and came upon his older sister. Eighteen-year-old Tre'Veona Smith, a Northwest High senior, was shot as she slept next to her cousin about 3:45 a.m. Sunday.
She later died at Creighton University Medical Center, making her Omaha's 38th homicide of 2012.
Omaha police have released few details about the case. Tre'Veona's family says she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps the victim of a stray bullet.
They say there's no way the popular teen, who was usually found with her nose in a book, was a target. “She'd always go to the library,” her mother, Delgracious Smith, said Tuesday. “If she was ever bored, she'd find a good book to read.”
Smith said her daughter also liked to take story lines from books she had read and expand on them, writing her own stories. Montureous showed off some of his sister's work, written in the neat, loopy handwriting typical of a teenage girl.
“She was a very sweet, good person. My baby,” her mother said.
Tre'Veona, Montureous and their cousins were spending the weekend at their great-grandmother's house near 42nd and Browne Streets, something they often did.
Montureous said the cousin who was sleeping next to his sister told him the bullet whizzed by her head and struck Tre'Veona in her upper body. Montureous felt helpless.
Police arrived and began canvassing the neighborhood. But as of Tuesday morning, no arrests had been made.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 444-STOP (7867) or omahacrimestoppers.net, or through the “Tip Submit” mobile iPhone/Android app. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward up to $1,000.
The family has set up a memorial fund at all Omaha Wells Fargo bank locations.
Contact the writer: 402-444-3100, firstname.lastname@example.org