Huddled with family members in a cramped, dark bathroom inside their Powder Springs home, Rajaan Bennett quietly called 911.
The McEachern High School football star told the operator they were being held hostage. A little after 2 a.m. last Thursday, Clifton Steger broke into his ex-girlfriend’s Woodcrest Drive house brandishing a .22 caliber revolver, according to Powder Springs Police, who on Tuesday released new details about Rajaan’s death.
Steger ordered Narjaketha Bennett, 37, Rajaan’s mother, to collect the cell phones belonging to her oldest son Rajaan, his 14-year-old sister, Narcharlette, and uncle Taiwan Hunter, 32. Then the 39-year-old Milledgeville carpenter led his ex, her two children and Hunter into the bathroom. Bennett’s youngest son, who is autistic, was allowed to remain in his room.
Narjaketha Bennett managed to sneak her phone into the bathroom. Rajaan, man of the house since his father’s death when he was in sixth grade, made the call. Powder Springs Police arrived four minutes later. Steger directed Narjaketha to tell officers everything was fine. Instead she bolted out of the front door and told officers what was happening inside.
Steger wasted no time, returning to the darkened bathroom where he began shooting indiscriminately. Fourteen-year-old Narchalette wasn’t hit. Hunter was struck in the abdomen but managed to flee with his niece. Rajaan, struck once in the chest, never got out of the bathroom. Police found him alongside Steger, who turned the revolver on himself.
Hunter is in good condition at Atlanta Medical Center.
Bennett broke up with Steger just a few weeks before the shooting. He urged her to reconsider in several e-mails and text messages, though Powder Springs Police say none of the correspondences contained threats.
McEachern held a memorial service Wednesday night for Rajaan, a budding architect who had signed a letter of intent to attend Vanderbilt University and play football for the Commodores. His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Trinity Church Chapel of Georgia in Powder Springs.