A Jacksonville woman died in an accidental shooting in May that happened while she was recording TikTok videos with a 20-year-old woman who was using a rifle as a prop, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Aniyah Womack, 19, was shot in the stomach and dropped off at a local hospital in May. She died hours later. For 135 days, her family waited for answers.
Mariah Clayton was later identified as a suspect and arrested on a manslaughter charge last week.
According to Clayton’s arrest warrant, Womack was driven to the hospital by two people, the driver and Clayton, who first said they saw Womack walking on a sidewalk near Trednick Parkway and picked her up before driving her to the hospital.
But the man driving the car later told detectives he had gone to an apartment complex to buy weed and when he arrived, the people in the apartment claimed Womack had shot herself and needed a ride to the hospital.
JSO interviewed people who were inside the apartment and one witness said Clayton and Womack were in the bathroom filming TikTok videos late that night. A witness told police Clayton was holding an “all-black rifle” and Womack was filming her popping out of the shower with the gun.
A short time later, a man entered the room, said they didn’t need to be playing with the rifle and tried to take the gun from Clayton, JSO said. Clayton then began to pull away and the man said, “Let me check something,” and reached for the rifle before it went off, a witness told police. The witness said they thought the man was going to check the safety of the gun held by Clayton, but he did not touch it before it went off.
Based on witness testimony, investigators said they believe Clayton was in possession of the rifle at the time of the incident.
“Clayton, while attempting to film Tik-Tok videos, was inappropriately handling the rifle and was culpably negligent in her actions even after being told that she should not be playing with the rifle,” her warrant reads. “The culpably negligent actions of Ms. Clayton led her to be directly responsible for the death of Aniyah Womack.”
Clayton is currently being held on a $250,000 bond. She is expected to be back in court at the end of the month.
Womack’s family says that they want justice.
“We just want justice. Whatever justice looks like. I mean, the industry experts, that’s what they do. So, we just want it to be handled right. We want justice not only for Aniyahm but honestly for anybody else out here too,” Womack’s cousin Autumn Redding said.
The Womack family also encourages families who are still searching for justice for their loved ones to never lose hope.
“Don’t stop fighting for your babies. Y’all got to speak up. You got to be present. You got to show up. You got to make sure you connect with some of the people in the community MAD DADS, Silent Women Speaking,” Redding said. “Build a support system.”
Womack’s family says that her smile and personality will be truly missed.