Damien Bessellieu said things have been “all over the place” since his family found out his mother was shot and killed inside her apartment Sunday night.
Kim Bessellieu, a 53-year-old Duluth resident, was found dead by police late Sunday night after a 911 caller reported a person had been shot at Amber Trail Apartments.
Damien was Kim’s only biological child, but one of five children she raised with her partner Johnetta Sonds. Damien is in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Washington and is married with four children. Two of his siblings are also in the military.
“The first word that will come to mind is ‘tough,’” Damien said. “My mom was a tough person.”
Family said Kim’s life was turning optimistic before her death. She injured her back and neck at work years ago, which made it difficult for her to work consistently. Damien said she had recently received a lump sum of money after years of applying for disability benefits.
That opens the possibility that someone could have taken advantage of her generosity, Damien said, and made her a “target.”
“If she had anything, you would know and that’s more than likely her detriment,” he said.
Though she didn’t have much in terms of possessions or wealth, Damien said she was selfless. He said she’d help friends and neighbors even when she was in physical pain. She was outgoing and strong-willed.
“She helped everybody,” he said. “Even though she didn’t have much, she would still help everybody out.”
The family launched a GoFundMe to help pay for the cost of a “Celebration of Life” memorial planned for next weekend.
“Our hope is to provide her with a ‘Celebration of Life’ service that reflects what a kind soul she was,” Sonds said in an email on Tuesday.
Police responded to a call shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday that a person had been shot in one of the apartment complex’s buildings. Officers and emergency services discovered Bessellieu dead at the scene.
A wounded victim, Kevin Hudson, told police he confronted the shooters before he was robbed and shot. Hudson told police that two men approached him after he returned from a nearby convenience store. According to a police report, the men told Hudson not to say anything and, “Give me all you got.”
The suspects allegedly took a police scanner from Hudson’s vehicle at gunpoint. Hudson told police he heard a loud bang and hit the ground, then ran to tell his wife what had happened.
Police said detectives are working diligently to piece together what led to the shooting.
“The Gwinnett County Police Department is dedicated to finding those responsible for this needless loss of life,” a statement said. “We are asking anyone with any information to please contact Gwinnett County Police or Crime Stoppers.”
Gwinnett County detectives can be contacted at 770-513-5300. To remain anonymous, tipsters should contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.stopcrimeATL.com. Reference case number 19-080729 when reporting information.