Family grieves woman shot and killed on Christmas Day

Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 6:49 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A local family will enter the new year grieving. 26-year-old Brianna Stevens was shot and killed in Roanoke on Christmas Day.

Brianna’s brother and sister-in-law said Brianna, whom they called Barbie, was a joy to be around and a force to be reckoned with. They are still in shock that she was taken from them so soon, and of all days, on Christmas.

“Out of all things, on Christmas Day, when it’s supposed to be a happy time. Now every Christmas, it’s going to be a sad Christmas because my sister was taken away from me,” Joshua Stevens, Brianna’s brother, said.

“Christmas will never be Christmas. Christmas will be the day that Brianna died. We’ll feel guilty for celebrating Christmas because she was taken, and it’s just senseless,” said Crystal Johnson, Brianna’s sister-in-law.

Brianna was found shot and killed on Bennett Drive in northwest Roanoke.

“I made a promise to her, when we were kids, that we would always protect each other and have each other’s back, and I feel like I broke that promise because someone has taken her away from me,” Joshua said.

He and his wife say Brianna was truly special.

“She was always the type to cheer everybody up, make us all happy and just forget what we were arguing about,” Joshua said.

“She had a smile that, I mean, could light up a room. I felt like she never met a stranger, and she was just one of those people that you definitely wanted to be her friend, and she was very captivating,” Johnson added.

Since the shooting, no one has been arrested, and the family wants justice.

“That’s one thing that I want the most, is to find whoever did this, and put them behind bars, for goodness sakes. She was 26-years-old, she had a whole life ahead of her, why would you rob someone of that and their family?” Joshua asked.

Updike Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Bedford is handling arrangements for the family, but the family is holding off on having a memorial because of the pandemic.

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