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Sumiton mother mourns teenage daughter as search for shooter continues

Deaster Gardner (photo from Sumiton PD)

Misty Kernop still vividly remembers the phone call she got Tuesday night. Three people including a girl had been shot. The police were coming to her work to pick her up.

"I totally lost it. Why else would cops do that? I had my car. Why couldn't they just call me? I knew."

Sumiton Police took her to the station and confirmed her fears. Kernop's 17-year-old daughter Jamie Kernop was found dead from a fatal gunshot wound inside a house on Early Street.

Kernop spent Thursday preparing for her daughter's funeral.

"They took my baby. There's no reason for this. There's nothing in this world that should make somebody want to take somebody else's life."

Sumiton Police spent the 48 hours since the shooting searching the Birmingham metro for Deaster Gardner. Chief T.J. Burnett said investigators believe Gardner was the shooter. They have found two separate motives for Tuesday's shooting. Burnett declined to reveal the motives.

Gardner, who goes by the street name 'Half Pint' was arrested in September by the Walker County Sheriff's Office for Unlawful Distributing of a Controlled Substance. The complaint claims Gardner sold heroin to an informant at a Jasper hotel. Gardner was released on a $25,000 bond.

A second juvenile suspect remained in custody on Thursday. Police were also able to gather information from the other two shooting victims. Both were expected to survive their injuries. Burnett said everyone involved in the shooting appeared to know each other. Kernop said the house on Early Street belonged to family of her daughter's boyfriend.

"She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

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