Mother arrested in shooting that killed her own 7-year-old daughter

ATLANTA — Two suspects have been identified in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl, according to Atlanta police.

Ava Phillips, 7, was shot and killed at a family gathering at Camden Vantage apartments on Saturday night.

Detectives arrested Kemeka Springfield, 44, and confirmed Tuesday to Channel 2 Action News that she is Phillips’ mother. She has been charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. She has not been charged with murder.

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Police also identified a second suspect, Deshon Collins, 23, but he is still at-large, according to detectives. Collins has arrest warrants for murder, cruelty towards children, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Police said during the gathering, there was a domestic incident that escalated to a shooting. As the shooting was happening, Phillips was shot while inside the apartment, according to police.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington spoke to Ava’s father, Jonathan Phillips, ahead of a vigil that was planned for her Tuesday night.

Phillips he has full custody of Ava and her brother and they lived with him.

“They go to their mom’s on the weekends sometimes,” Phillips said. He said he dropped Ava off at her mother’s on the day of the shooting.

“I think they started shooting inside the apartment or something like that,” Phillips said. “Worst thing that could’ve happened to me.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis spoke about Phillips’ death Monday morning.

“It broke my heart to watch,” she said. “Another precious life stolen...We have too many guns in the wrong hands and too much freedom to get guns.”


On Sunday, the little girl’s father, Jonathan Phillips, spoke with Channel 2′s Veronica Griffin on WSB Tonight. He said he won’t sleep until her murderer is off of the streets.

“She was a good girl, man. She didn’t deserve this,” Jonathan Phillips said.

The family has also started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for funeral expenses.

A special vigil has been planned for Tuesday.

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