When she heard her cousin’s July 22 death had been ruled a homicide, Brittany Willoughby described it as “instant devastation.”
Willoughby had been close her entire life to Katlyn Head, a 30-year-old Gainesville woman who police said was fatally shot in a car on Interstate 985 southbound in Buford.
Head’s son Zayden turned 11 less than a month before this.
“She just turned 30. She still had her whole entire life, Zayden’s whole entire life. Now, she’s not going to be here to see the rest of his milestones,” Willoughby said.
Gwinnett police said Lawrence Gray, 30, called 911 on July 22 to report his girlfriend, Katlyn Head, shot herself while they were in a car together on the interstate highway.
But the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office later determined the manner of death a homicide following an autopsy. Police obtained warrants for Gray on July 31 for aggravated assault, aggravated battery and felony murder. Gray was booked in to the Hall County Jail that day.
Head’s mother, Lori Kimbro-Head, said she had been trying to reach her daughter July 22 and also saw posts on Facebook regarding a possible suicide on Interstate 985.
Kimbro-Head said police contacted her around 8:45 p.m. that night and informed her of Head’s death.
“Katie loved life. She loved her little boy. That was her world,” Kimbro-Head said.
Head’s mother described her daughter as an athletic and beloved young woman, who participated in cheerleading, cross country and volleyball when she was in school.
For the past couple of months, Head was working in home health care in Gainesville.
With a six-year age difference, Willoughby and Head used to ride around in the car, listening to music and talking about their futures. She described Head as “free-spirited” and a “kind-hearted person” who would drop anything to help family.
“We were actually pregnant at the same time, about four months apart. When she had Zayden, she just instantly stepped into the role of being a mom. She was a really, really good mom. She loved her son for sure,” Willoughby said.
Kimbro-Head said she broke down when she heard the case had been deemed a homicide by the medical examiner.
“I didn’t want people thinking she killed herself,” she said.
Plans are in the works for a celebration of life where balloons will be released in Head’s honor, her mother said.
A GoFundMe page, created on July 23 to raise money for the family, collected just over $5,500 dollars. Donations have now been disabled.
"Because of everyone’s generosity we were able to give her the send off we wanted her to have," the update reads. "As you see we raised $5,505.00. We were charged fees if 188.54 leaving us with $5,316.46. After paying the funeral home we have over $1,500.00 which will be used to open an educational fund for Zayden. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts."