Driver, 19, dies days after birthday when backseat passenger’s rifle discharges

MARION, Ind. (WXIN/CNN) - A 22-year-old man faces several charges after police say an assault-style rifle he had possession of went off in the back seat of a car, killing the driver.

Annalysa McMillan, 19, was "an encouraging, bubbly young lady who had a bright future," according to her pastor. (Source: Family photos/WXIN/CNN)

Loved ones are mourning the loss of Annalysa McMillan, who was shot and killed five days after she turned 19. Police say McMillan was driving her car Tuesday afternoon in Marion, Indiana, when she was shot in the back. She later died from her injuries.

“The last text that she sent to her stepdad was that she loved him, and those things are glue to help you hold tight when everything is trying to blow you apart," said Mark Atkinson, the lead pastor at Eastview Wesleyan Church in Gas City.

Police preliminarily charged 22-year-old Austin Smith with reckless homicide for McMillan’s death. They say Smith, who was in possession of an AR-15 style rifle, was sitting in the back seat behind McMillan when the gun went off.

Smith is also charged with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.

The shooting is still under investigation, but McMillan’s family and friends are now dealing with the heartache of her death.

"I do believe there are a lot of things that there’s no way to answer, so we just have to trust in the Lord," Atkinson said. "She was an encouraging, bubbly young lady who had a bright future and was heading in the right direction.”

McMillan grew up attending Atkinson’s church. The pastor says she will be cherished forever, gone but not forgotten.

Copyright 2019 WXIN, Family photos via CNN. All rights reserved.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus