Tarkesha Carter, 25, of Columbus, is escorted by members of Columbus Police Department behind the Columbus Municipal Complex on Monday. Carter is facing a murder charge in the shooting death of 28-year-old Brittney Foster, who was shot Sunday morning in the Jackson Square parking lot on Highway 45 North. Photo by: Zach Odom/Dispatch Staff
August 19, 2014 10:44:26 AM
A Columbus woman is in jail following an early morning shooting death Sunday, and the victim's father -- an Alabama police chief -- is left picking up the pieces.
Prosecutors on Monday charged Tarkesha Carter, 25, of 58 Swartz Drive, with murder following the death of 27-year-old Brittany Foster, who authorities say was gunned down in the parking lot of Buffalo Wild Wings, where she worked.
Carter was also charged with one count of aggravated assault for shooting at an unidentified second woman during the incident, which occurred about 1 a.m. Sunday.
Columbus Police Department investigators allege Carter fatally shot Foster in the restaurant's parking lot after a brief confrontation on the east side of the parking lot, near Highway 45 North.
Foster suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
Carter had been at the restaurant earlier in the evening. Investigators are not releasing a motive in the murder. Authorities told The Dispatch the three women knew each other.
Authorities say a firearm was discovered near Foster's body.
After allegedly shooting Foster, Carter, authorities say, went inside the restaurant and asked a manager if another female employee was still working. The unidentified employee emerged and ran through the back of the restaurant with Carter in pursuit. Once the two were out of the restaurant, Carter fired at least three shots at the woman but did not hit her, according to Capt. Brent Swan with CPD.
Carter, after walking around the back of the restaurant, was apprehended by CPD officers in the front parking lot.
Her next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 20. She remains in the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center on a $600,000 bond.
A grieving father
Danny Jackson, who is Foster's father, is the chief of police in Union Springs, a small town in southeast Alabama.
Contacted Monday morning, he said investigators have kept him informed of the investigation, but he knows little about why his daughter was shot and killed.
They talked at least once a day. The last conversation they had was Saturday. The phone call lasted about 40 minutes.
"If we didn't talk every day something was wrong," Jackson said. "We talked so much that if I didn't call or if she didn't call, one of us would call the other one and say, 'Well, I'm still alive. Why didn't you call?'"
Foster had a close relationship with her father and her two grandmothers. She worked at Weyerhaeuser, as well as Buffalo Wild Wings, and would usually talk to her father and grandmothers while driving to her jobs, Jackson said.
"She was a grandmother's girl," Jackson said.
Foster lived in Union Springs until she was 6 years old, then moved to Atlanta with her mother. When her mother married, Foster, her mother and her stepfather moved to Mandeville, Louisiana. From there, Foster attended and graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge. For the past nine years, she has served in the Air Force reserves. Jackson said Foster was also close with her mother and stepfather.
Foster worked two jobs because she liked to keep busy, her father said.
He added that she was a "brilliant" woman who always had a smile on her face. She was quick to lend a hand to those in need but would stand up for herself as well.
"She would help anybody, I'm just not saying that because she's my daughter. She was a very friendly person," her father said. "She wouldn't harm anybody but on the other hand, she wasn't going to let anybody harm her."
Addressing the fact that two guns were found at the scene, Jackson said he encouraged his daughter to have a gun for protection.
"The reason why I trained her, she moved around a lot and she lived by herself. She traveled a lot. She had to go back and forth to drill and she's been living by herself," Jackson said. "For protection, she carried a gun."
Jackson said Foster had recently purchased a new firearm and had been training at a shooting range. Jackson did not know the make or model of her firearm.
Police are not releasing the caliber of either weapon found at the scene. They are also not releasing the number of shell casings found.
While his family is grieving, Jackson also realizes Carter's family is grieving as well.
"People are angry for nothing, they get angry for nothing," he said. "You've destroyed more than really two lives because my daughter is gone and the person who did it, her life is pretty much over and it has an affect on my, on my family, my kids."
Jackson, since learning of his daughter's death, said he has had to remind himself to breathe.
"There's nothing that hurts like losing a child," he said. "Words just can't describe the feeling, the loneliness. You just don't know what to do next, you don't know whether to keep breathing or plan for the funeral or look for answers or what."
Funeral services will take place Saturday in Union Springs.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.