19-Year-Old College Student Shot And Killed While Home For Winter Break, Boyfriend Turns Himself In
Lafayette Hodges has turned himself in and is charged with involuntary manslaughter.
December 30, 2019 at 5:02 pm
Michigan State University freshman Lyniah Bell was shot and killed Friday in an apparent domestic violence incident while home in Chicago for winter break, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Bell was in the bedroom of an apartment in East Chatham when she was shot in the head around 9:50 p.m. A neighbor called 911 after they heard a gunshot.
A witness told police they heard a gunshot while a woman was in the bedroom. The witness then found her with a wound to her head.
Police were dispatched shortly after, and Bell was pronounced dead on the scene. The death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.
Lafayette Hodges was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Bell. The 18-year-old turned himself on Saturday morning around 4 a.m. He is scheduled to appear in bond court Monday.
Police told ABC7 that Hodges did not fire his weapon intentionally.
Bell told her family she was going to stay at her boyfriend’s house for the duration of the break. Her family did not approve of him.
"I didn't like him,” Bell’s mother Evelyn Hightower told WGN9. "I told her, 'You don't match, you're a straight-A student… he's not doing nothing. He's in the streets, you don't need that.'"
Hightower had spoken to her daughter about an hour before she died.
"It ain't really hit me yet," Hightower said. "I know she's gone, but I ain't fully processed it yet.”
The 19-year-old was on a full-ride academic scholarship to MSU and was studying business and journalism.
"I was very proud of her," said Hightower, Bell's mother. "Couldn't ask for a better child, just hated our time was cut short."
Bell’s grandfather identified her body at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office on Saturday, Her family alleges she was beaten before a gun was pulled on her.
"It is a shock to me that it was Lyniah and that he killed my baby probably over nothing," said Hightower.
Bell was a graduate of North Lawndale College Prep, a charter school in Chicago’s West Side. While in high school, she was a Phoenix Pact scholar, a National Honor Society inductee and a member of the theater club.
The school posted a statement to Facebook saying she had a “positive impact on the community” and offering counseling services to students.
MSU was her dream college, according to Bell’s cousin, Sam Brown. While attending, she had “stellar grades” while also balancing a part-time job.
“She loved it. Sometimes it felt as if she’s at home there and she was visiting us,” Brown said. “She was very excited to learn. She loved the environment.”
Bell has a 13-year-old brother, who Brown said was her best friend.
“She was so sweet, so, so sweet,” her family said. “Whole life ahead of her. And he just took it from her.”