‘My daughter was loved’ | Hundreds celebrate the life of beloved Brookhaven 23-year-old lost to gun violence

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 5, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (WLBT) - Hundreds of people gathered Friday to celebrate the life of a beloved Brookhaven woman.

Twenty-three-year-old Myrtessia Catchings was shot in the head Monday by Willie Walker III, according to Brookhaven Police Department investigators.

Catchings worked as a manager at the Waffle House and was called in around 2 a.m. to deal with an altercation between two employees.

According to police, a chef tried sending an employee - Lindsay Marie Schmidt - home. Schmidt refused to leave and instead called her boyfriend, Willie Walker III.

Police say Walker shot Catchings in the head before she could even make it inside the restaurant; another man was shot in the arm.

According to police the man who was shot in the arm drove Catchings to the nearest hospital. Catchings was ultimately airlifted to UMMC.

Catching’s mom, LaKeisha, is trying to focus on who her daughter was and how she touched everyone around her.

“Her heart was so big!” LaKeisha Catchings said. “My daughter was loved, and she was loved by a lot of people,” she said.

She said her daughter was a young, natural-born leader that was a light to anyone she met.

“From little kids to older kids, the love that has been shown lets me know that everybody loved her,” she smiled.

At Friday’s vigil, LaKeisha Catchings thanked those who were there for their support.

“I want to thank y’all personally for your texts and for your calls,” she said. “For those nights that I just laid in the bed and looked at those posts and those texts, you carried me.”

Her family is using the support of friends and the memories they shared with their daughter to pull them through.

Catchings’ father, Dearius Swington, took a moment during Friday’s vigil to recognize the bigger issue that took his daughter’s life.

“Gun violence is real,” he said. “I think we ignore that quite often, especially in our small town. We overlook a lot of things, and it really doesn’t get recognized until it hits home. And it hit home.”

He said that just a few months ago, he was in the hospital with his son who also got shot but survived.

This time around, he said he can’t express the pain that he’s feeling.

“There’s nobody out here who can tell me they know what me and her mom are going through right now,” he said. “All I can say is: the only thing we want right now is Justice for Teedee.”

Walker is now in the custody of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department without bond, and his girlfriend faces an accessory charge.

Lindsay Marie Schmidt & Willie Walker III
Lindsay Marie Schmidt & Willie Walker III(WLBT)

Police say Walker was already out on bond for a shooting weeks ago at his cousin’s home.

He is charged with murder, two counts of shooting into a vehicle, and aggravated assault.

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