Mom of teen shot over Facebook feud: 'I had a feeling my baby wasn't coming home'

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Alicia Rice’s 14-year-old daughter, Kiera’Onna “Keke” Rice, had been talking for weeks about how she was going to meet her rivals in a Birmingham park to settle a feud that had been going on since sixth grade. The feud was trivial; some kids had been picking on Keke since sixth grade over her looks.

On Friday night, the feud ended, and Keke had been fatally shot through the heart.

“It was supposed to be a group fight,” said Arreonia Westry, a close friend of Keke’s, to The fight had been discussed on Facebook.

Keke, the peacemaker of the group, had gone back and forth about whether or not she would go to the fight. “We told her she didn’t have to come if she didn’t want to,” said Keke’s cousin, 15-year-old Destiny Senior. “But they had said if she didn’t come out there, they were coming to her house.”

Keke eventually gave in to peer pressure, and when Rice called her daughter, she knew where Keke was. “She was at Washington Park. I knew she was there. She didn’t have to tell me,” Rice said.

“I just went to praying real hard,” Rice said. “I’d never prayed that hard a day in my life. I said, ‘My baby ain’t coming home.”’

Witnesses say the planned fight quickly went off the rails when someone pulled a taser and then someone started shooting. “Everybody took off running,” Arreonia said. “I turned around because I knew Keke was behind me, and she was on the ground.”

After Keke was shot, friends say she was run over by a car in the panic. “She was reaching for her cousin, and she just kept saying, ‘my legs, my legs.”’

Someone scooped her up, threw her over his shoulder, and rushed her to the hospital, but Keke died from her injuries.

Although there has been some talk of retaliation, Keke’s friends and family have had their fill of violence and hope there will not be any more fighting. “I lost my cousin over a fight,” Destiny said. “It’s definitely a wake-up call.”

There will be a vigil held at Railroad Park for Keke on Sunday. While Rice has been surrounded by friends and family, she says she is still struggling with the loss. “I’m fine when they’re here,” she said, “but when everyone’s gone, I cry.”

“I’m going to miss talking to her. That’s who I talked to,” Rice said.

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