Heartbroken father of Griffin sixth-grader shot and killed in sleep speaks

Asijah was killed while sleeping in her bed at the Northside Hills Apartments in Griffin around 1 a.m. on Tuesday.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:28 PM EDT
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SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The father of an 11-year-old girl killed in her sleep by a stray bullet says his grief is unbearable.

The last time Marcus Jones saw his alive daughter, Asijah Jones, was a week ago. He took her shopping, not knowing it would be the last time he would ever see her alive.

“Asijah was a flower, man,” Jones said. “I’m feeling like somebody just ripped something out of my body and it’s a hollow space there but I’m still living.”

Asijah was killed while sleeping in her bed at the Northside Hills Apartments in Griffin around 1 a.m. on Tuesday. The Spalding County Sheriff said the suspect, Kionta Parks was shooting at someone in the parking lot when a stray bullet hit the little girl. Parks was still not in custody as of Wednesday evening.

Kionta Jahaun Parks
Kionta Jahaun Parks(Spalding County Sheriff's Office)

“The person who pulled the trigger is the stray, like a stray dog,” said Jones. “He the stray, not the bullet.”

Investigators believe the shooting was gang-related. While they’re still trying to determine if there was a second shooter the sheriff said Tuesday, they’re confident Parks fired the fatal shot.

“He’s a monster,” said Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix. “He has a complete disregard for human life.”

On Wednesday, grief counselors were at Cowan Road Middle School where Asijah was a sixth grader.

In a letter sent to parents, the district said, “We urge you to talk to your child about this loss of life. Children need caring adults with whom they can discuss their feelings about death and dying. We encourage you to take this opportunity to share your beliefs and discuss ways of coping with the feelings your child may have.”

“She was the first person that became my friend at the beginning of the school year, and she actually understood me,” said Natalie Lind, Asijah’s classmate, and friend. “She was just a really good friend to me, and we had all classes together and she’s really good at art.”

Lind’s mother, Maegan Cosper, said her daughter called her early Tuesday morning after the school informed students about the tragedy.

“This morning Natalie called, and it was from her friend, cell phone, I could tell she was crying, but I could never get out of her what was wrong,” Cosper said. “She cried and cried and cried and cried for hours, she sat here and cried. She’s just scared for the rest of her friends that live there.”

Described as a kind, gentle, yet spunky person, those who knew and loved Asijah said she will be missed dearly.

“I don’t think Asijah wants us crying,” Jones said. “Asijah Love Jones, that was her full name.”

The family has started an online fundraising campaign to help with Asijah’s funeral expenses. If you would like to donate, click here.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Parks is asked to call the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office at 770-467-4282. Authorities said Parks should be considered armed and dangerous.