Chris Kelley was at a Sunday morning church service with his family when he learned his cousin, 39-year-old Monica Brickhouse, was dead. Her five-year-old son was motherless.
“It’s not just that we lost Monica,” Kelley told ABC affiliate WTVM Monday night. “Now it’s, we have another life that, at five years old, has experienced something none of us want to experience.”
Brickhouse had been among the bar patrons enjoying a late weekend night in Dayton, Ohio’s Oregon District when 24-year-old Connor Betts arrived.
Within 30 seconds, he had killed her and five other people, wounding 26 others in the process. His sister and a male friend were already dead nearby.
He joined them when Dayton police returned fire.
“A friend of hers had come into town from Virginia to visit her,” Kelley said of Brickhouse. “She was there enjoying the scene, not knowing that this was going to take place.”
Kelley said his family members are trying to figure out when they’ll be able to travel from Georgia to Dayton and make funeral arrangements for Brickhouse.
He described her as a joy to everyone who knew her. She was aware of it, too.
“She said it,” he said. “She would say, ‘Listen, I'm intelligent, I'm classy, and by the way, I'm also cute."