Southwood coach remembers former cheerleader killed in drive-by shooting

‘A leader with a heart made of gold’
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 9:50 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2023 at 9:01 AM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The community is mourning the loss of former Southwood High School cheerleader Kaleah Graham.

Graham was one of two people killed on Thursday, Nov. 16 in a drive-by shooting.

[RELATED: Shreveport police find man, woman shot inside vehicle]

Head Cheer Coach Destiny Duhon remembers 23-year-old Graham as a bright, ambitious and fierce leader during her time at Southwood. Duhon says it’s been difficult dealing with the loss.

“She was just such a good kid, I mean you just couldn’t help but love her,” she said. “Kaleah could brighten up the day she was just out dancing, carrying on, one of the most caring people you could ever imagine.”

Her life was tragically cut short on Thursday evening. Shreveport police say just before 7 p.m., officers responded to a shooting on Jewella Avenue. Upon arrival, officers found a stalled white Range Rover on the road. Inside the vehicle were Graham and 24-year-old Jessie Ashley.

“Our dance line coach called us and left me text messages and said, ‘Hey that was Kaleah in the car,’ and I was like, ‘Our Kaleah?’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah, our Kaleah.’”

Both victims were found with multiple gunshot wounds and died from their injuries.

“Guns are not the way and violence is not the way, I just wish everyone would start respecting each other and respecting human life,” said Duhon.

On Saturday, Nov. 18, Southwood held a moment of silence at the school’s game for the former student. Duhon says Graham’s impact on the school will live on forever.

Graham’s funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25 at Mt. Bethel #1 Baptist Church in Keithville.

SPD is actively investigating this shooting and asks anyone with information on the incident to call police.