Teen Sisters Killed In Front Of Dad By Man Hiding In Their Home: Police

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An Oregon tribal nation was rocked by the fatal shootings this week of two Black and Indigenous teenage sisters by a man hiding in their home.

Aleeka Qualls, 19, and her 14-year-old sister, Zion Qualls, were killed on the morning of June 29 at the Klamath Falls home where they lived with their father.

Aleeka Qualls, 19, (left) and her sister, Zion Qualls, 14, were killed in their Klamath Falls, Oregon, home on June 29.

Police initially responded to a report that a man had been hiding in the family’s home and threatening them with a gun, according to a police press release.

When officers arrived at 8 a.m., they said they heard sounds of gunshots coming from inside the Qualls’ apartment. They rushed inside and arrested Elijah Albert Croy, 20.

One of the girls was declared dead at the scene, while the other died later at a hospital, police said.

Police said Croy had also attempted to kill the girls’ father, Tashka Qualls, but his gun jammed, ABC affiliate KDRV reported.

Authorities said that Croy admitted that he had fatally shot the girls after their father discovered him in a bedroom, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by KDRV.

The Klamath Falls Police Department is also investigating whether Croy tried to sexually assault the girls, according to the outlet.

Croy was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, according to court documents obtained by HuffPost.

Spokespersons for the Klamath Falls Police Department and the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office were out of the office when contacted by HuffPost on Friday.

Tashka Qualls, a popular tattoo artist in Klamath Falls, thanked the community and the Klamath Tribes for their support in the wake of his daughters’ killings.

“There are no words to express how I feel about the loss of my daughters and the love that I feel from our community,” Qualls said. “This has shattered me to the core, and I never want anyone to have to feel the pain that I am feeling at this time.”

The girls’ mother, Crystal Davis, who had joint custody of her daughters, “is not doing well at all,” her sister Courtney Franklin told HuffPost Friday.

Crystal Davis holds her daughter Zion when she was a baby in an undated photo.
Crystal Davis holds her daughter Zion when she was a baby in an undated photo.

“We’re just really shocked and shook to the core,” Franklin said about the loss. She said the girls were more than sisters — they were best friends.

Aleeka was “sweet and quiet,” and “very positive,” focusing on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems, Franklin said.

The 19-year-old was planning to go to college this fall in Sacramento and live with Franklin, who is a professor. She planned on studying real estate and “possibly makeup,” her aunt added.

Both girls loved pink, and Aleeka, whom Franklin described as “very spiritual,” even had a pink Bible, she said.

She described Zion as “feisty” and said she loved to hang out with friends and play video games.

The Klamath Tribes said in a press release that it was in “deep mourning” for the girls, who were Klamath tribal descendants.

Tribal council member Leslie Anderson said the community has a “responsibility” to raise awareness for missing or murdered Indigenous people. Violence against Native Americans is significantly higher than national averages, but has received less attention from media and law enforcement agencies.

“We have a responsibility moving forward. Under new tribal leadership, we are advocating for justice for all of our tribal community who fall victim to violence and senseless crimes,” Anderson said.

“The Klamath Tribes must continue to stand strong in unity and prayer for the victims and their families. Law enforcement must take these crimes against Tribal Members seriously and prosecute these criminals aggressively,” the Klamath Tribes Council said in the press release.

Zion (left) and Aleeka (right) Qualls pose with their cousin Madison (middle) during a recent visit to their aunt Courtney Franklin's home.
Zion (left) and Aleeka (right) Qualls pose with their cousin Madison (middle) during a recent visit to their aunt Courtney Franklin’s home.

The girls were proud of their biracial identities, their aunt told HuffPost.

“When they visited their mother, they frequently did their hair, got braids. They liked to bead and do featherwork, through the tribe,” Franklin said.

“Even though their mom is African American, she was also close to the tribe,” Franklin said.

Croy is currently being held in the Klamath County Jail. His next court hearing is scheduled for July 9.

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