Mother of girl killed during domestic disturbance struggles with devastating loss: ‘It doesn’t feel real’

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 7:40 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Brittney Whitfield said losing her daughter Saturday in a domestic violence shooting at her sister Danielle Gaines’ house still feels surreal.

“I am still in disbelief; it doesn’t feel real,” Whitfield said.

Her 6-year-old daughter, Alyssa Whitfield, was one of two children killed at 403 W Vega Lane in Killeen on Saturday, March 12.

The Bell County District Attorney’s Office filed capital murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges against Kendrick Donnell Gaines, 39. The man is accused of shooting and killing Alyssa and his stepdaughter, Makayla, and wounding his wife, Danielle.

“I went to an interview that morning so I dropped her off at my sister’s house,” Whitfield recalls.

She says she told Alyssa she loved her and hugged her goodbye through the car window in the driveway. She went on the job interview and to run a few other errands, all while face timing with her daughter and niece, watching them play in the house.

Makayla R. Martin, 11, and Alyssa Whitfield, 6.
Makayla R. Martin, 11, and Alyssa Whitfield, 6.

“I got a call and they said my daughter had been shot. [Danielle] said ‘this is real come quick.’ I dropped everything and I ran out of Dillard’s as fast as I could.”

When she got to the scene, Whitfield says the only person she saw was her sister being taken away in an ambulance. She says she asked repeatedly to see her daughter before she was informed she had been flown to McLane Children’s in Temple.

Whitfield said a neighbor drove her to the hospital where doctors told her her daughter would not survive.

“[Alyssa] had such a cute personality. She was a beautiful little girl always smiling and laughing” Whitfield said.

She says she wants to remember her daughter as a happy child, and not associate her with the tragic events that unfolded Saturday.

She says she’s still at a loss as to how the shooting happened in the first place.

“I was always under the impression that [Kendrick Gaines] loved my child that he loved Makayla because he was always so good to them, so nice to them giving them money buying them toys doing anything for them and I just never thought it would get here,” Whitfield says, “Lord knows I would not have ever allowed my child to be around someone that I didn’t think she was safe around”

“My daughter was everything to me. Its been, and still is, a joy - even though she’s not physically here - its been a joy to be her mother. I’m thankful to god for the time I did get to spend with her.”

Where there was once crime scene tape, now is a yard filled with dozens of pinwheels in the...
Where there was once crime scene tape, now is a yard filled with dozens of pinwheels in the young girls honor after the community held a vigil at the home.(Megan Vanselow for KWTX)

Where there was once crime scene tape, now is a yard filled with dozens of pinwheels in the young girl’s honor after the community held a vigil at the home Monday night.

“I want to thank every parent and every child at that candlelight vigil. It broke me down, but I’m appreciative of it and I’m very grateful that so many people showed up to give condolences and show love and care for someone they didn’t know. It means a lot to me. I can only imagine that Alyssa and Makayla were there smiling, playing around in the pinwheels,” Whitfield said.

“[Alyssa and Makayla] were the best of friends, loved each other like they were sisters even though they were cousins.”

Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.