A 14-year-old cheerleader was bound for high school when her life was cut short in Tennessee, officials said.
Malia Powell was stabbed to death after police said a dispute spilled out of a Walmart store on Monday, June 20.
“My baby didn’t deserve this,” the girl’s mother, Eboni Ridley Powell, told WZTV. “She was only 14 years old.”
Powell is remembered as a “bubbly” member of a cheerleading squad and a determined student at Bellevue Middle School in Nashville. She finished eighth grade and was set to enter high school in the fall, Metro Nashville Public Schools wrote in an emailed statement to McClatchy News.
“If you think of Malia, you should think of a funny, nice, that girl who will be there for you and I think there should be other people in the world… like her,” schoolmate Teiona Williamson told WKRN.
Officials said Malia was inside a Walmart at about 10 p.m. when she and another teen girl got into an argument.
“The exchange continued in the parking lot and up to the WeGo bus stop on Dickerson Pike,” the Metro Nashville Police Department said June 21 in a news release. “The suspect reportedly asked Powell if she wanted to fight and then charged her while holding a pocketknife.”
Homicide officers are investigating the case and ask anyone with tips about the other teenager to call 615-742-7463.
Meanwhile, the Nashville school district said it is “saddened by the tragic death” and has worked to offer counseling services. Officials said Malia made a lasting mark on Bellevue Middle School.
“Though she is no longer at BMS, this loss still leaves a void because she is still part of our family and our community,” Principal Seth Swihart told The Tennessean.