Teacher shot and killed in Newark drive-by

August 1, 2011 2:16:08 PM PDT
Police say a school teacher, passing through her home town, was shot to death in a case of mistaken identity in Newark.

She's the latest victim in a sharp rise in gun violence in that city.

29-year-old Dawn Reddick was visiting her home in Newark from Virginia for the weekend, when she found herself in the middle of a drive-by shooting.

"My daughter caught a bullet directly through the head," said James Reddick, the victim's father.

They were such brutal words for a father to speak, just days after his daughter, Dawn Reddick, was killed in a drive-by shooting.

Yet through the fresh pain, James Reddick sat, in the very place his baby was baptized nearly 29 years ago with a slight smile on his face, remembering her heart and her passion.

"Kids, she just loved kids," Reddick said.

It is that love of kids that led her to her job as a third-grade teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It was a dedication she brought with her during a short trip to New Jersey to visit friends and family.

It was also displayed the night of her death.

As those gunshots rang out while she walked out of a restaurant in Newark around 9 Friday night, eyewitnesses say she lost her life saving the life of a 7-year-old girl.

"She grabbed this little girl and tried to shield her, that gives me comfort," Reddick said.

The young girl she shielded was shot in the leg but survived.

Two others were also hurt, but Dawn's wound was just too severe.

"Getting the phone call was the worst thing," said the victim's mother.

It's a phone call that still paralyzes her mother, lying in bed, surrounded by mementos as she recalled the dusk of her daughter's life.

"I was just crying holding her hand. I just kept asking her to wake up," her mother said.

Now, back where Dawn's life was first celebrated, they are planning her funeral.

"We were taught that God doesn't make any mistakes, but this senseless shooting is something we can do something about," Reddick said.

Two men were also hit.

It's unclear if they were the intended targets.

So far no arrests have been made, but police are reviewing surveillance video in the area.

There is a Facebook memorial page for Newark Drive-by Victim, Dawn Reddick set up: http://www.facebook.com/pages/In-loving-memory-of-Dawn-Y-Reddick/264187343597170

Funeral information: Promised Land Baptist Church in Newark
Wake: Thursday 3pm-8pm
Funeral: Friday 9am

Reddick will be laid to rest in Goochlind, VA on Sunday.