Grieving mother seeks closure in 2013 cold case

LAURINBURG – Brittany Colson’s mother wants anyone who might be afraid to share information about her daughter’s death to put themselves in her place.

Tracy Taylor talked to The Laurinburg Exchange ahead of the fourth anniversary of the Laurinburg woman’s passing.

“I would like them to think about the person that they love the most, the person that they have plans with and dreams and goals with. Think about someone just walking up to them and violently taking their life, and you can’t do anything about it. They just decide that they’re going to do something violent and it takes [your loved one’s] life,” Taylor said. “Think about how you would feel and how unfair that is. Brittany deserved better than that.”

Nineteen-year-old Brittany Colson, was shot in the head in possible retaliation to a gang related shooting.

On Nov. 4 around 7 p.m., Colson, who was three months pregnant, was riding in a white, 2002 Buick with a friend, 21-year-old Tyesha Leggett and Leggett’s brother 18-year-old Arctral Gibson, both of Laurinburg. When Leggett pulled up to the intersection of Wagram and Samoa Streets, someone fired shots at the car. The bullets missed Leggett and Gibson, but Colson was struck in the head and left in critical condition. Colson was later declared braindead and removed from life support on Nov. 6, six days before her mother’s birthday.

At the time, police suspected Colson’s death was related to a shooting that took place on Oct. 30. Byron Antonio Covington, 24, was found dead in the backyard of a home on Washington Street. Colson was killed just six hours after Covington’s funeral.

Kamel Detroy Stewart, 21, was arrested and charged with Covington’s murder. The car in which Colson was riding belonged to Stewart’s father, Calvin Stewart, and Leggett was Kamel Stewart’s girlfriend, according to Taylor.

“They were just driving down the street, and someone shot at the car,” Taylor said. “It didn’t hit this girl they were targeting who was driving the car, and it didn’t hit her brother, who my daughter was dating. He is not associated with the gang. It’s just that this girl [Leggett] was dating someone in the gang, but I don’t know if she was associated with the gang or not.”

Brittany’s case went cold and has stayed there, according to police.

“We are still working on the case. We try to get information every chance we have, but we don’t have any new leads,” said Lt. Chris Young.

Taylor believes that no young person’s life deserves to be taken but that Brittany was especially deserving of a chance at life.

Taylor adopted Brittany when the girl was six years old. Taylor was a social worker in Richmond County, and Brittany’s birth mother was a teenager who struggled with parenthood.

“I coordinated a program for teenagers and young adults helping to prepare them for independence,” Taylor said. “Brittany became available for adoption, and I felt like they were going to just let her go with anyone, so I adopted her.”

Brittany bore the emotional scars of her early childhood and struggled to cope with them. She suffered from depression and was suicidal on one occasion.

“She had been through so much before she came to live with me, but she was a good kid,” Taylor said. “She went to therapy and was hospitalized a couple of times; it wasn’t easy to deal with her pain all those years.”

Taylor saw a strength in her daughter and the fight to surmount her struggles and setbacks. She called Brittany her hero.

Brittany’s past and her struggles were part of the reason that Taylor did not get involved when her daughter moved out of her home and moved in with Gibson and his mother. Her daughter had goals and was working to achieve them, and Brittany was content, especially when she found out that she was pregnant.

“If the situation had been different, I would have intervened. She had been done wrong most of her life, but she was finally happy,” Taylor said. “She was excited about becoming a mother. She had gotten an ultrasound that day and had called me, but I was with my best friend, and she said she would call me later. She said, ‘Thank you Mama for everything. I love you Mama.” And then she giggled and said again, ‘I love you Mama.’ Shortly after that, she was shot.”

Taylor has struggled with that final conversation and with the loss of her youngest child. She finally made peace with the fact that there was no way she could have known what tragedy lay in her daughter’s near future.

Taylor went to therapy to overcome the loss of her daughter, but she has not overcome the fact that her child’s murder remains unsolved.

“I’m very hurt that nobody has come forward. Think about how you would feel and how unfair that is,” Taylor said. “There are all these people who say they loved Brittany and cared about Brittany and they really miss her. I’m pretty sure that some of those same young people were involved with some of these same folks but fear them. I would say, don’t be afraid to talk to the authorities. They can do that anonymously so they don’t have to feel like they’ll be retaliated against.”

Taylor believes that Brittany deserves closure and that the people who are “just going on with their life” need to be punished.

Anyone with information on Brittany Colson’s murder is asked to call the Laurinburg Police Department at 910-276-3211 or call 911.



By Beth Lawrence



Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169