Mother: 'Ariel did not deserve to die'

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) - A grieving mother talked on Monday about her daughter's senseless shooting death and the party that led up to it.

Kendra Morgan-Stevens discussed it through stories about her 19-year-old daughter, Ariel Morgan.

"My fondest memory of Ariel is just always, 'Mommy, can I have? Mommy, can I have?' and Mommy was always giving it to her. Ariel was my princess," said Morgan-Stevens.

Berkeley County deputies say Ariel Morgan was shot and killed at an annual block party in Moncks Corner on Tish Lane around 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

Officials say four others were injured.

"Some cruel person decided that they wanted to shoot up at a party, and bullets have no name," said Morgan-Stevens. "So, a stray bullet hit her, and took my daughter's life."

Morgan-Stevens says Ariel was a rising sophomore majoring in nursing at Francis Marion University and wanted to become a pediatric nurse.

"Whoever this person is, I really hope you will feel guilty enough to turn yourself in," said Morgan-Stevens. "And, if anyone knows anything about this, please feel free to contact the Berkeley sheriff's department."

Morgan-Stevens says she will miss her daughter's voice and the bond they shared.

"My ringtone from her was, 'Mommy, pick up the phone. Pick up the phone.' Now, I won't hear that ringtone from her," said Morgan-Stevens.

Morgan's death shook the Berkeley County student community. Dozens of friends tweeted about their disbelief over the weekend.

Johnnie Lynch organized a vigil for Morgan, and says he graduated from Stratford High School with her.

"She was just an awesome person," said Lynch. "She was caring, very kind, very energetic and always knew what to say if you're in a bad mood or something."

Lynch says he hopes the community remembers Morgan for her bright personality.

"She's literally an angel. She was an angel while she was here and she's definitely going to be an angel while she's gone," said Lynch.

Lynch was one of four speakers at a press conference Monday held by the National Action Network. Leaders of the organization say the plan to ask Gov. Nikki Haley for stricter state gun laws as it pertains to illegal use.

"I want to see these young men in jail without any possibility of parole. Spend the rest of their life in jail because if they get out they may do it again," said Elder James Johnson, president of the local chapter of the National Action Network.

Johnson went on to ask that witnesses of Morgan's death help police find who is responsible by submitting anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

"The word 'snitching' is a bad name in our community.," said Johnson. "A lot of crimes are not solved because of that."

Johnson says the National Action Network hopes to raise as much as $20,000 as a reward for Crime Stoppers.

ABC News 4 reached out to Berkeley County Sheriff's officials for an update on potential suspects. Our calls were not returned as of 7 p.m. Monday.

Morgan's funeral arrangements are being handled through Scott's Mortuary. A viewing has been scheduled for Friday, June 13 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Funeral services for Morgan will be at noon Saturday at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church on Rivers Avenue. There will be a family hour preceding the funeral.

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