Indiana teen driver shot dead by backseat passenger as AR-15 rifle held by him fires through her seat
The passenger, Austin Smith, 22, was charged with reckless homicide and criminal recklessness while armed with a deadly weapon. Both the charges count as felonies.
A 19-year-old woman from Indiana was killed while driving her car after a passenger sitting in the back seat of the vehicle fired an AR-15 rifle, with the bullet piercing the car seat and hitting the teen on Tuesday, according to police.
The passenger, identified as 22-year-old Austin Smith, has reportedly been preliminarily charged with reckless homicide in Annalysa McMillan's death. Smith, who is currently being held on $1,005 bail, also faces a charge of criminal recklessness while armed with a deadly weapon. Both the charges count as felonies.
Reports state that McMillan was driving her car in Marion, Indiana, when the rifle discharged behind her and struck her in the back. Authorities said the single bullet went straight through the driver's seat and hit the 19-year-old in the back.
The shooting also led to a minor accident with another car, and officers who rushed to the scene of the incident could not resuscitate her. There were two other people in the vehicle, one 19-year-old and the other 18-year-old, they were not hurt in the incident, police said.
The lead pastor at Eastview Wesleyan Church in Gas City, Mark Atkinson, in a statement to Fox59, spoke about the community's shock after hearing of McMillan's death. "I do believe there are a lot of things that there’s no way to answer, so we just have to trust in the Lord," he told the outlet. "The last text that she sent to her stepfather was that she loved him, and those things are glued to hold tight when everything is trying to blow you apart."
Atkinson said the teen was destined for a bright future and he had recently written a recommendation letter for her. "She was an encouraging, bubbly young lady who had a bright future and was heading in the right direction," the pastor added.
The tragic incident reportedly came just five days after the teenager's 19th birthday.