WASHINGTON – Officials are searching for a Virginia teenager who went missing one day after police arrested her mother for firing a gun to stop what she says was an assault on her daughter.
Brianna Stewart, 15, has been missing since Sunday morning. Police arrested Stewart’s mother, 35-year-old Lakisha Gaither, Saturday evening after she told police she was trying to defend her daughter who she says was punched in the face.
On Saturday evening, police responded to the 1900 block of Gableridge Turn in Woodbridge, Va., to investigate a report of shots fired. Police say Gaither’s daughter was involved in a dispute with other juveniles when Gaither confronted them. At one point, Gaither pulled out a handgun and fired a round into the air, according to Prince William County police.
Gaither tells NBC Washington she had gone to talk to the mother of a girl involved in the dispute when the juveniles came to Gableridge Turn. One of the boys punched her daughter in the face, she says.
“He didn’t walk away. He hit her and kept coming for her,” she tells NBC Washington.
That’s when Gaither, a registered gun owner, said she took matters into her own hands and fired one round into the air. Gaither says she had her gun on her during the confrontation and carries her gun wherever she goes.
Police arrested Gaither and charged her with reckless handling of a firearm, a misdemeanor. Neither injuries nor property damage were reported. Gaither was released on her own recognizance.
After the incident, Gaither says she feared for Stewart’s safety and requested she stay with her grandmother in Fairfax, according to NBC Washington. Stewart’s grandmother called Gaither Sunday morning and said the 15-year-old was missing.
Gaither tells NBC Washington she is worried about her daughter and she has “no clue where she is.”
Stewart is 5 foot, 9 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds and has dimples on her cheeks, NBC Washington reports.
If you have any information about Stewart’s whereabouts, contact Prince William County police at 703-792-6500.