After Heated Confrontation, Va. Teen Missing

By Mila Mimica
|  Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013  |  Updated 4:17 PM EDT
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Jackie Bensen

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Authorities are searching for a Virginia teen who went missing one day after a confrontation involving her mother and a group of boys turned violent, leading her mother to shoot a gun into the air.

Brianna Stewart, 15, was last seen Sunday morning at her grandmother's house. She'd been staying there after the confrontation.

Stewart's mother, Lakisha Gaither, 35, told News4 that her daughter had been involved in an argument with other teens in their Woodbridge, Va., neighborhood Saturday. She said a teenage girl who appeared to be angry with Stewart showed up to the family's home accompanied by a group of boys.

Later that night, Gaither decided to speak with the girl's mother. When she arrived at an apartment complex in the 1900 block of Gable Ridge Turn, the group of boys who had come to her home earlier that day showed up again, she said, and this time, one of the boys punched her daughter in the face.

"He punched her in the left eye, knocking the eyeglass lens out of her glasses, into her face," Gaither said. 

After seeing her daughter get punched repeatedly, Gaither said she took things into her own hands.

"Because I do open carry, because I'm a registered gun owner and I open carry everywhere I go, I walked out to the middle of the parking lot where I was away from everybody, not near anybody, the not near the buildings or anything, and I unholstered my weapon, held it straight up in the air and shot straight in the air, one shot, to get him off of my child and to break this group up," Gaither said.

Police were quickly called to the scene, and Gaither, who said she open carries everywhere, was charged with reckless handling of a firearm, a misdemeanor. No one was injured and Gaither was later released from jail, a police report states.

Several hours after the incident and fearing for her daughter's life, Gaither asked her mother to take Stewart for the night. 

"I just wanted the situation to calm down," Gaither said. "I didn't want them retaliating."

Sunday around 8:30 a.m., Gaither said her mother called her and told her Stewart was nowhere to be found. No one has seen or heard from Stewart since that morning. 

"I don't know where she [is]," Gaither said, fighting back tears. "I don't know if she's OK; I don't know if she's safe; I don't know if she's hurt. There's been no activity on her Facebook."

Stewart is 5'9", weighs 160 pounds and has dimples on her cheeks.

Last month, an 18-year-old Woodbridge student was found stabbed to death in a park slightly more than two miles from where the confrontation involving Stewart and her mother happened. Several arrests have been made in the death of Kenny Diaz, a varsity football player at Woodbridge High School.

If you have seen Brianna Stewart or have any information, call police at 703-246-7892.

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