Who was Persayus Davis-May? Ohio teacher slammed for calling murdered girl 'not my brightest'

Persayus Davis-May, 10, was killed and three others injured in a shooting in Youngstown

                            Who was Persayus Davis-May? Ohio teacher slammed for calling murdered girl 'not my brightest'
Calls for the teacher to be fired (Photo by Mint Images/Winston-Salem, North Carolina via Getty Images)

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO: A Youngstown teacher is facing calls to be fired after she posted a controversial message on social media about a 10-year-old girl who tragically died in a shootout. Persayus Davis-May was killed and three others injured in an early Wednesday, August 18, shooting on Samuel Avenue in Youngstown. Just minutes earlier, a man was shot to death in his pickup truck nearby. Authorities believe the two incidents are linked and are offering a sizeable reward for information that leads to a conviction.


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Taking to Facebook, the teacher, who has not been identified, talked about the 10-year-old victim, who she said was a former student. “I am so angry and sad at the same time. This baby was not my brightest but she was our caregiver and protector. She struggled with all academics but could count money like it was her job,” the teacher wrote, sparking outrage.

Tayana Smith, the girl's godmother, told WKBN she was shocked over what the teacher said. “I’m not sure what her angle was, or what her objective was of posting something like that. Posting that she’s praying or asking the community to pray for us, we appreciate that. But then she led into how she fell asleep in class and she wasn’t a bright student. That was just very disheartening, especially at a time when we are still grieving the loss,” Smith said.

The incident doesn't warrant disciplinary action, Youngstown City Schools said, but insisted that they would strongly discourage educators from engaging in such behavior.

Commenting on the tragic shooting, Rev Lewis Macklin said, “There is no excuse or justification for such a heinous act." Meanwhile, a tearful Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said it was a "dark day for our community" during a midday media briefing. “Probably the darkest I’ve ever had as mayor. Any loss is unacceptable, but when you have an innocent 10-year-old child, a victim of senseless violence — my heart aches right now," he added.


Authorities said the shooting that killed Persayus was connected to another shooting that morning. About seven minutes before Persayus was killed, shots were fired into the truck of 40-year-old Michael Callahan, killing him and injuring another occupant of the vehicle.

It's possible the men in the truck exchanged gunfire with those outside the Samuel Avenue home, Youngstown Police Chief Carl Davis told reporters Wednesday. He added that the shootings were also connected to a greater epidemic of gun violence that has plagued the city of late. “How many times do I have to stand here and keep saying this? Enough is enough,” Davis said. “This tragedy speaks to the brazenness of those committing these crimes.”

Pete Elliott, US Marshal for the northern district of Ohio, also noted the spike in gun violence in northern Ohio cities. “We have shooting warrant after shooting warrant in all major cities,” along with increasing homicide cases from Youngstown to Akron, he explained to Mahoning Matters.

Elliot said federal authorities are now seeing more younger shooters, around the age of 14 and 15, with several reported cases of children as young as 8 years old dying by stray bullets. “It’s frustrating in many ways. Definitely, there’s a real issue going on in every city across our district. It’s continuing to get worse,” Elliot added.

Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information that could lead to a conviction in the Samuel Avenue shooting. If you or anyone you know has information related to the incident, you are urged to call CrimeStoppers Youngstown at 330-746-CLUE.