Vigil held for WKU student killed at apartment complex

Published 9:47 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

Ayanna Morgan should have been enjoying her last year at Western Kentucky University.

Instead, a vigil took the 21-year-old’s place at Guthrie Bell Tower on Tuesday.

Morgan was shot and killed last month at the Muse apartment complex not far from campus.

Misha Baskerville, Ayanna’s mother, recalled dropping her off at WKU four years ago, saying she was “so excited” for her next chapter in life.

“Ayanna’s plan didn’t go as what we had hoped for. I would rather be talking to you at her graduation ceremony than at her memorial,” Misha told a crowd of students and family. “But being that is the case, Ayanna’s life showed exactly who she was — a dedicated, tenacious, hard-working individual.”

Volunteers from WKU’s Intercultural Student Engagement Center and Student Government Association passed out candles and bracelets stating “#Forever21” and “#JusticeForAyanna.”

Misha was joined by her mother, Veronica Hiriams, and her husband, Zilverbakk-Omega Baskerville, named in honor of his late grandmother’s final words.

Each spoke tearfully of Ayanna, who they called “a defender of the innocent, a voice for the voiceless.”

“She was just an all-around great person,” Misha said. “A typical 21-year-old, but with a plan, a life plan. That’s not normal these days.”

Ayanna came to WKU to become a veterinary technician, which her family said was no surprise.

“She couldn’t walk by a dog without saying ‘oh, it’s a baby,’ ” Veronica said. “She loved animals, and she connected with people with animals.”

The vigil ended with 21 seconds of silence for each year of Ayanna’s life.

“We love you, Ayanna,” Misha said tearfully. “We will never forget you.”

Martha Sales, dean of students and assistant vice president of Student Life at WKU, was one of dozens of mourners to attend the event.

“Life is so short, it’s like a vapor, and we should be there for each other,” Sales said. “As President Caboni always shares, we show up — good, bad, ugly — we show up for each other.”

Sales said tragedies like this are a reminder to the community to live life fully, just as Ayanna did.

The Bowling Green Police Department has an outstanding warrant for Malik Ade Jones in the case.

Kobee Lancaster, 24, appeared in court earlier this month on charges of first-degree assault for allegedly striking Ayanna with an SUV moments after she was shot.

Lancaster turned himself in to BGPD after police located the car he had driven.

A GoFundMe set up for Ayanna’s family has so far raised over $10,000.