Family, friends remember 21-year-old woman who died days after Tampa double shooting

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa mother is pleading for her daughter’s killer to turn themselves in.

It’s been more than a week since 21-year-old Savannah Mathis was shot and killed, and her shooter is still on the run.

Lamaria Smith says everyone knew her daughter by her smile.

“Everyone knew Savannah for her personality, she was a sweet, beautiful soul,” Smith said. “She just brought light to my life, she was my strength, she was everything to me.”

Mathis had dreams of going to the University of Florida.

“Everyone knew how she was about the gators,” Smith said. “For you to say she was a threat, she wasn’t a threat, you were cowards.”

Those dreams were cut short last week. Mathis was one of two women shot on Dec. 1 at Grace Street and Delaware Avenue in Tampa. She died two days later.

“The last thing I said baby I love you, I’ll see you at home, and I didn’t get that opportunity,” Smith said. “Instead I got a bad phone call, and by that time it was too late.”

Mathis was Smith’s oldest daughter. Her youngest is now without her best friend.

“I tell my daughter you remember the good times,” Smith said. “That was your best friend. You take those memories with you.”

Mathis was a student at Hillsborough Community College. When she was wasn’t there, she was working at BJ’s Alabama BBQ, where her mom is co-owner. Now, there’s a growing memorial inside for the 21-year-old. The family is searching for justice.

“It’s not fair, put these guns down, you don’t realize the effect you leave on families,” Smith said.

Smith says it’s been hard on them, but she knows she had an angel on earth while her daughter was here.

“She was returned to her heavenly father and with that, I have a peace of mind as a mother,” Smith said.

The family will hold a candlelight vigil Friday night at 8:00 p.m. at W. Grace St. and N. Delaware Ave.

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