Ariel Morgan to be recognized in HBO documentary

Ariel Morgan, 19, was fatally shot at a party near Monck Corner on June 7, 2014.

Kendra Morgan-Stevens was brought to tears last week when she learned her daughter, who was killed in a spray of gunfire a year ago Sunday near Moncks Corner, would be mentioned in an HBO documentary later this month.

“Wow,” she said, speechless for a moment. “I’m blown away.”

The documentary, entitled “Requiem for the Dead: American Spring 2014,” features headlines and photos of people who died at the hands of guns during the spring of last year, according to Sunshine Sachs spokeswoman Tiffany Malloy. It is told exclusively through found media — news accounts, police investigations and social media.

While the film includes more than 100 victims, it is just a sample of the 8,000-plus who died across the nation during that period, she said. Ariel Morgan is not part of the eight featured in-depth in the film, but her story is briefly highlighted. The film is set to air June 22.

Morgan, 19, was fatally wounded June 7, 2014, when shots were fired among a crowd of hundreds at a party on Tish Lane in the Longridge community. She died at the scene.

She had no part in the argument that sparked the violence that also wounded another woman and four young men.

More than 800 people were at the party, but no one has helped investigators enough to solve the case. Berkeley County spokesman Michael Mule said that there haven’t been any new developments in the case, but investigators are still pushing for witnesses to come forward.

County Council recently passed a resolution to officially make June 7 “Princess Ariel Elaine Morgan Day” in an effort to bring awareness to her death and ask the public for help, Mule said.

One of the directors of the HBO documentary Morgan is mentioned in, Shari Cookson, said just seeing Morgan’s face moved them when they were deciding who would be highlighted in the film.

“Learning about her story was extremely sobering,” Cookson said via email. “How a young woman could be shot at a party — and the fact that she expressed concerns for her safety beforehand on social media, how she hoped everyone would stay peaceful so they could all just enjoy themselves is a sentiment we feel haunted by.

“It’s scary to think how often gun violence happens in this country and how suddenly someone’s life can be taken away.”

Morgan-Stevens said she is happy to keep her daughter’s legacy alive and is confident there will be one day be justice.

“I’m very positive that it’s going to be solved,” she said. “I just take it one day at a time.”

Morgan’s family has been raising money for a reward since her death and Crime Stoppers announced earlier this year that it’s now at $8,740. Morgan-Stevens said there will also be a fundraiser on June 15 at Buffalo Wild Wings, 4959 Centre Point Drive in North Charleston, to help raise more funds. The restaurant will donate 15 percent of all pre-taxed food sales to the family.

Morgan-Stevens said a memorial service is also planned for 11 a.m. June 14 at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church On Rivers Avenue.

She said she has her good days and bad days and misses her daughter every day.

“The way she said, ‘mommy’ ... when you don’t hear that when you walk through the door, it’s hard,” she said. “Her family misses her and her friends miss her.”

She credited Morgan’s many friends for the social media posts and getting her noticed to be on the HBO documentary.

“This is not how I wanted her to be remembered. I’d rather have her here with me,” Morgan-Stevens said. “But this right here (the film), her legacy will definitely live on.”

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughton.