Georgia high school football star’s girlfriend speaks out about harrowing shooting on couple’s date night

EXCLUSIVE — The longtime girlfriend of a Georgia high school football star gunned down in a mall lot by a Dave & Buster’s recalled the harrowing shooting during the couple’s date night — and her decision to forgive the two teen suspects apprehended in South Carolina — during an interview with Fox News Digital.

Elijah DeWitt, an 18-year-old wide receiver nicknamed “Eazy E” by NFL legend Cam Newton himself, suffered fatal gunshot wounds in the parking lot of the Sugarloaf Mills Mall in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on Oct. 5.

His girlfriend of nearly five years, Bailey Reidling, recalled that they had gone to Dave & Buster’s for what rose to a double date night of games with some friends. She said DeWitt kissed her on her forehead and slipped her his credit card to go get food before she and another friend, Angel, went to the bathroom.

She came out looking for her boyfriend, thinking that he and another friend, Oscar, were getting tickets or playing foosball but realized they were outside and suddenly saw “everything’s red.”

MOTIVE UNKNOWN IN MURDER OF GEORGIA FOOTBALL STAR SHOT AT MALL; TEEN SUSPECTS EXTRADITED FROM SOUTH CAROLINA

“I run over to Elijah, and he’s on the ground, and I go right over to him, and he mouths to me — the last word he said to me was ‘help,'” Reidling told Fox News Digital. “You’re screaming in the moment because you’re in shock. So, it’s like a scream that you don’t try to do, it’s just coming out. I checked his pulse, and I got freaked out because there is nothing going on there. Some sweet lady came around the corner and said, ‘Baby, he just got shot. Calm down. We called 911. They’re already on their way.'”

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Two days later, Gwinnett County police announced the arrests of two suspects: Kemare Bryan, 18, and Chandler Richardson, 19, both from Lawrenceville and ultimately apprehended in South Carolina.

Both Bryan and Richardson are facing charges of felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies in connection with the murder of DeWitt.

The two teens are set to be extradited to Gwinnett County this week as funeral preparations are underway to honor DeWitt on Wednesday. No motive has been announced.

Despite the heartbreak, Reidling said, like DeWitt’s family, she’s chosen to forgive the suspects, saying, “This is not the only crime, it is everywhere.”

“Just like his dad said, you don’t really know. You don’t know how those kids were raised — you know, what they were going through,” Reidling told Fox News Digital. “It’s not right. It never will be right. But you know, Elijah, this is not the only crime, this is everywhere. And it’s horrible.”

“Elijah would forgive them, which seems like he wouldn’t, you know, if you’re one of those guy friends or if you see him on the field, he’s a scary player, but he would have forgave them. I’m going to,” she said. “There’s something in my heart telling me to. I haven’t got any hatred towards them. Anger? Yes.”

“I genuinely think he’s at peace now,” Reidling added. “And I think that’s what … made me so calm is that he’s at peace. So, I guess that brings me peace.”

DeWitt and Reidling attended Jefferson High School together for one year while he was a freshman, and she was already a senior. A competitive cheerleader all her life, Reidling said, “I did get to cheer on the sidelines for him for one year.” But she later went off to Georgia Southern University for two years before transferring to the University of North Georgia and getting an apartment in Athens so that she could be closer to DeWitt for his senior year of high school.

She had the opportunity to travel with him to South Carolina, North Carolina and Washington, DC, when DeWitt played on a seven-on-seven team and garnered recognition from Newton.

“Elijah learned a lot from Cam and, you know, Cam would talk to me, and no matter what people think of Cam in the media and stuff, I mean, he just wants the best for the kids. And he made a nickname for Elijah — Eazy E because he said Elijah is just laid back out there and doesn’t really talk that much, but he takes care of business,” Reidling recalled. “He actually had a visit to Georgia UGA. … He would 100% have gone to college, and everybody said, ‘You know, that kid’s going to make it in the NFL.'”

Reidling said, as far as she’d heard from friends, DeWitt met the two suspects just a few days earlier at the same Dave & Buster’s. She said she dropped her boyfriend and friends off that Sunday but left to complete a college math quiz, pulling into a nearby McDonald’s to use the WiFi.

During that time frame, she said that she heard secondhand that DeWitt was approached by the suspects asking if he smoked or had any weed to sell to them. Beyond that, Reidling said she doesn’t know how the suspects knew they were at Dave & Buster’s days later and that investigators were looking through their cellphones.

“I don’t wish this whole scenario upon anyone. I’m like, ‘Damn, could [you all] not have like fought him outside of Dave & Buster’s?'” she said.

On Friday, Gwinnett County police said, “Detectives are still working to investigate the motive behind this incident, it appears that the suspects and the victim were familiar with each other and when they encountered each other in the parking lot, an altercation took place and then the shooting.”

“While investigators do have some information about what caused the shooting, it will likely not be released to protect the integrity of the prosecution,” a Gwinnett County police spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “I don’t have any information on prior criminal records.”

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“He was an athlete at heart. But I don’t… want people to remember Elijah just as that,” Reidling said. “I just want everyone really to know how much of a light he was. And when he walked in a room, he didn’t even have to say anything. But he was just … already an angel before he was actually an angel. And I love that. What me and Oscar and Angel had to see on that Wednesday night, I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, not even the people that killed him.”

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