Family grieves loss of children

Raven Anderson talks about her sister, Brittany Anderson, in front of the house where Brittany Anderson was shot, and five of Brittany's children were killed in a Tuesday morning shooting. Since then, people have placed teddy bears, flowers and balloons on the front porch in remembrance.

Michelle Anderson recalled seeing her nieces and nephew last Sunday.

"Que'dynce was out there playing, saying that when he grew up he wanted to play football," Anderson said. "My niece, Nevaeh, she'd say 'Aunt Chelle, can you take me with you to the nail salon to get my nails done with you?'" 

Harmony was "the smiley one," and Jaidus was "full of joy," Michelle Anderson said. "Jalaiya would just run to you wanting to be picked up and held."

On Tuesday morning, the children were dead, slain in an overnight shooting at 903 Indiana St. They were identified as Que'dynce Anderson, 9; Nevaeh Pridgeon, 6; Harmony Anderson, 5; Jaidus Pridgeon, 3; Jalaiya Pridgeon, 1. Also killed was Javarion Lee, 24.

The children's mother, Brittany Anderson, 27, was wounded and taken to a Tulsa hospital. Jarron Deajon Pridgeon, 25, was arrested in connection with the shooting.

Michelle Anderson, 30, said on Wednesday that she is at a loss for words. 

"Those were my babies," she said. "I had seen them every day. Que'dynce would say 'aunt Chelle, can I come visit you?' He was the only boy and he had all sisters, and I had two boys."

One day after police swarmed the house, stuffed animals, balloons, flowers and sympathetic notes piled on the front porch steps.

Raven Anderson, another of Brittany's sisters, said the family has greatly appreciated the outpouring of support and prayers.

"From the phone calls to the texts, the prayers, the donations, all of it," she said. "I feel everyone behind us, praying for us and for Brittany and the children. It's great to have that support."

Muskogee churches, especially Mount Calvary Baptist and Antioch Temple of Hope, have offered support, Raven Anderson said.

She said Brittany is able to talk a little and has "been in and out of sleep."

Raven Anderson said she has not been able to visit Brittany because of COVID-19 precautions, although their mother has.

"She's doing a bit better," Raven Anderson said. "For the most part, she is resting. She's been in and out of sleep. But we are hopeful. We have faith that she'll get through this."

Raven said Brittany has been made aware of her children's fates, but probably has not fully processed it yet.

"We're just trying to stay strong for her and our other nieces who are still with us," Raven Anderson said. "That and praying and sticking together, that's all we can do."

However, Raven said she still feels indescribable pain, especially about the children.

"My nephew was the oldest of all the children," she said. "They were outgoing, happy, full of life and energy. Great kids, they were smart." 

Raven said her fond memories include "family get-togethers, going to the park, playing volleyball, going to arcades and places like Main Event."

A trip to Main Event, an amusement center, was one of the last times Raven Anderson said she spent with the children.

"That was probably a few months ago," she said. "For all of us, that was the last big thing."

Raven said Brittany was the outgoing sister.

"She was the one who was outspoken, make everyone laugh," Raven said. "She was the joy of the family. She brought everyone together."

Brittany had recently moved back to Muskogee after about a year, year and a half, in Fort Gibson, she said.  

Pridgeon was father to five of Brittany's eight children, Raven said. "Three of the ones who were killed were his."

Raven Anderson said three girls survived, ages 1 month, 1 year and 7 years.

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