The Teen Gang Member Garikah 'Hitta' Barnes Who Was Gunned Down At 17
A teenage girl who built up a bloodthirsty reputation as a self-labelled 'hitta' and was gunned down in April 2014 was suspected of being a female shooter for a gang in Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Garikah Barnes was reportedly a shy, timid child as a youngster, but over the years curated a violent online presence that could not have been further from her humble beginnings.
Her story has been told as part of a documentary called Secret Life of a Gang Girl on A&E, which explores how teenage gang members' internet feuds have grown into physical, real-world shootings.
First charged with firing a gun when she was just 14, Barnes is thought to have been involved in up to 20 murders before she was killed on 11 April at the age of 17.
Having been shot multiple times, police were led to believe she had been targeted.
"It's an ongoing war and we do not know what for," her mother Shontell Brown told NBC Chicago at the time.
"I'm just gonna miss her presence. She was a very, very beautiful, well-known, liked, lovely girl. I love her and I'm gonna fight for her to have justice because I don't think it's fair that we're losing our kids being gunned down in the streets."
Before her death, Barnes had created a prolific online persona under Twitter handle @TyquanAssassin, with former gang member Angalia Bianca referring to her as 'a real badass gangster girl - every bit the definition'.
"For females, if you want to keep that kind of respect, she was never going to stop," she said.
However, her earlier life could not have been any more different.
Discussing Barnes' background in a Chicago Sun Times segment released a couple of months after her death, crime reporter Frank Main - who also features in the new documentary - said: "Her mom said she was a smart kid - she was kind of shy, even timid.
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"I talked to people at school who said it took a while for her to warm up to her classmates and her teachers. She had some initial discipline problems in the beginning and she got suspended, but after that she was a good student."
As she got older, Main explained that Barnes' attendance grew 'spotty'.
He continued: "The next thing you know, according to her mother, she was arrested for shooting a gun and wound up going into the juvenile justice system, and she essentially never really was a full time student again."
Barnes' reputation then went from that of a shy, timid girl to a 'shooter', 'hitta' or 'assassin', known to her rivals as somebody who liked to 'shoot first, ask questions later'.
She fell in with a group of young men who called themselves the St. Lawrence Boys or the Fly Boy Gang - one of whom, 15-year-old Shondale 'Tooka' Gregory, was shot to death as he waited for a bus in January 2011.
Eight months later, a 20-year-old opposing gang member called Odee Perry was shot and killed, and Barnes was widely linked to the death thanks to online posts labelling her the 'hitta'.
Her friend Raason 'Lil B' Shaw was also killed in a police chase in March 2014, prompting Barnes to tweet: "Da pain unbearable."
In another post, she added: "Police took my homie I dedicate my life 2 his revenge 100."
While Barnes' involvement in several local murders has been widely rumoured, the teenager was never charged with any killings.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter