Slain Teen Remembered as Beloved in Community - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/05/06

Slain Teen Remembered as Beloved in Community

Jennifer Ross during a 2002  WTOC interview. Jennifer Ross during a 2002 WTOC interview.

Jennifer Ross was supposed to return to Mercer University for classes after winter break this week. Instead, her family, friends and classmates are remembering her after a violent crime took her life.

The 19-year-old Savannah woman was shot early Christmas Eve morning during a robbery attempt in Orleans Square. She died New Year's Day. Police are still searching for her attackers.

Many people came together following her shooting to rally against crime. But Ross was also very well known and loved in Savannah. Now Ross' family and friends are making sure the young woman will be remembered as more than just a victim of crime.

"Just a bright, charming full spirit," said classmate Nelson Lewis. "Energetic. Never really met a stranger. It's very sad."

"She was so spunky. I think that's going to be our best memory of her," said Johnnie Morris, whose daughter Shannon grew up playing soccer with Ross.

"We're just going to remember Jennifer with her great little perky smile," said Morris.

That smile touched not only her family and friends, but many physical therapy patients at Memorial Health where Ross worked as a volunteer during high school. We saw it 3 1/2 ago when we featured Jennifer as a WTOC Top Teen (click here for that story).

"It's been really awesome being able to work with these people and see how they work on patients and all," Ross said at the time. "I really hope I can one day be a physical therapist. I really like it and I'm glad I got to do this, this summer."

At Mercer University, her dream became opening her own international design firm. A dream her classmates now sadly realize will no longer come true. As they hug and mourn together, they're a little closer.

Johnnie Morris says life is too precious and too short. "A little tighter, a little closer. Not wanting to let her out of my sight. You know, that could have been any of our child, our daughters."

If you have any information about Ross' attackers are or where they might be, call police or CrimeStoppers at 234.2020.

A number of funds have been set up in Ross' memory. If you would like to contribute, please contact one of the following agencies:

St. John's Episcopal Church
1 West Macon Street,
Savannah, GA 31401

The Jennifer Ross Memorial Fund
c/o University Advancement
Mercer University
1400 Coleman Avenue
Macon, GA 31207

Jennifer's Justice Fund
c/o Save Our Savannah
Martin Sullivan
116 Country Club Drive
Savannah, GA 31410

The Memorial Health Foundation
4750 Waters Avenue
Savannah, GA 31404

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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