TYLER, TX (KLTV) – Early Friday morning, a stray bullet hit and killed a 15-year-old Longview girl while she sat in her mother's car.
Around one Friday morning, a gunman allegedly fired several shots following a disturbance at Williams Chicken on Gentry Parkway in Tyler.
Tyler police say Nicole Cartwright was just an innocent bystander who got caught in the crossfire.
Her mother says she is now overcome with regret.
"I said no. I said no and then she said 'Momma please let us go. It's my sister's birthday. Momma we've been planning this.' I let them go. I let my baby go," says Gloria Cartwright, the victim's mother.
That was the last time Gloria saw her 15-year-old daughter, Nicole.
"They wanted their little sister to go with them. She was the baby," Cartwright tells us.
On the way home, the girls stopped at Williams Chicken, and what happened next, no one could have predicted.
"There was an altercation and they started shooting," said Cartwright. "My girls was in the car with their friends, in my car, and Nicole caught a bullet in the head. The bullet came in through the window."
Police say a lone gunman fired multiple shots from the Williams Chicken parking lot.
Nicole and her sisters stopped in the carwash parking lot behind the fast food restaurant to eat before heading back home to Longview.
"Her sister called and said 'Nikki got shot!' and after that, I just—everything went blank," Cartwright explained.
Nicole was killed on Gloria Cartwright's birthday.
Cartwright says there is nothing that can fill the void, on what was supposed to be a happy day.
Released by Matthew Smyser with Tyler Police Department:
On December 24, 2010 at approximately 1:36 a.m. the Tyler Police Department received a telephone call regarding a disturbance at the William's Chicken business located at 1118 W. Gentry Parkway.
While en route to the scene officers were notified that gunshots had been fired and an individual may have been struck. As officers arrived on scene they located the victim at 1103 W. Bow Street with a single gunshot wound.
The victim was immediately transported to East Texas Medical Center emergency room where they later succumbed to their injury. Detectives from the Major Crimes Unit and Crime Scene Unit were notified and responded to the scene. The investigation is presently ongoing.
Anyone with information about the suspects involved in this crime are urged to contact the Tyler Police Department, at 903-531-1000, or Crimestoppers, at 903-597-CUFF (903-597-2833). Crimestoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and charges filed against the suspects in this case, or any, felony case.