Woman shot, killed at Walgreens identified as head administrator of LYE Academy in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis community is looking for answers after a woman was shot and killed outside of a drugstore.

The victim was 60-year-old Juanita Washington. She was the head administrator at LYE Academy, a performing arts group in southeast Memphis.

Ladia Yates, the owner of the studio, said she and her students are heartbroken after the senseless act of violence that took away a beloved member of their studio.

“I want you to see the pain in my eyes, I want you to see my kids and their parents mourning over a life you took senselessly for no reason,” Yates said.

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Washington was shot in her car at Walgreens on S. Perkins Rd. Wednesday afternoon and later died.

“Our kids need people like this. This is the next generation. We need people like this, and y’all took her from us,” Yates said.

Just two weeks ago, Washington celebrated her 60th birthday at LYE.

Students hugged her tight and handed her gifts, unaware it would be the last time they would see her.

“She welcomed me every time I would come in. She was a very great person, and she will be missed,” an LYE Academy student said.

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‘Auntie’ Juanita’s desk now sits empty, surrounded only by flowers and picture frames in her memory.

“I chose to remember her smiling and crying tears of joy, like we saw her the other week,” Yates said.

Though she’s not physically here, LYE will always be her home.

“She’s going to be here. I’m not going to say rest in peace because she is here forever,” Yates said.

Yates said she wants to get this story out there in hopes it will inspire people to put the guns down.

She’s asking for community leaders and elected officials to do more to stop violence in our communities.

LYE is preparing to travel to Los Angeles next month for a dance competition.

This year they hope to win for Auntie Juanita.