Police look for witnesses in teen's murder at house party

Police plead for witnesses to teen's murder at Gwinnett house party

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Gwinnett County police are asking parents and teens to come forward with information in the murder of a Lithonia teen who was killed when gunfire erupted during a house party.

Jahlah Branch, 17, was shot and killed early Saturday morning inside a Snellville home on Aviator Circle. Police say 100 teens were at a house party  when the shooting began.

“It’s my understanding that during the party a dispute happened between several people,” said Cpl. Deon Washington. “During that dispute guns were brandished and shots were fired in  a crowd of people.”%

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Washington said police received reports of several shooters. Branch was shot in the head and died on the scene.

“The loss of life for someone so young is always tragic and this definitely could have been avoided,” Washington said.

Police said the partygoers were between the ages of 15 and 18, and shouldn’t have been in possession of guns in the first place. They are also investigating what role adults played in the gathering, and whether any were present during the event.

Meanwhile, Branch is being mourned by family, friends and coaches at Atlanta’s i-DareU Football Academy, where he trained for two years. The talented athlete was a student at Salem High School in Conyers, and had recently transferred from Hapeville.

The i-DareU Academy is planning a vigil for family and friends on Saturday afternoon.