A GoFundMe campaign has been started to raise money for the family of Gabriella Curry, the 4-year-old girl who was hit and killed by a Columbia Police Department SUV on Friday afternoon at Battle High School.
The campaign had raised over $1,300 of its $10,000 goal as of Monday afternoon. The money will go toward helping support Gabriella’s parents, Aaron and Cheyenne Curry. They have three other children, according to the GoFundMe effort’s description.
The incident occurred just before 4 p.m. Friday, according to a report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Officer Andria Heese, 27, had entered a roundabout at the west entrance of the high school and was parking on the sidewalk so she could observe students loading onto the school buses.
Gabriella was walking on the sidewalk at the time and was hit by the vehicle, a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe.
After the girl was struck, Heese, another officer and Battle High School staff provided medical help immediately, according to the Police Department release. Additional aid was requested by radio, and Columbia Fire Department and University Hospital EMTs arrived to assist. Gabriella was then taken to University Hospital, where she died from her injuries.
Heese was placed on administrative leave after the incident per department protocol, according to department spokesman Jeff Pitts. Heese has worked for the Police Department for five years and was assigned to the Community Outreach Unit.
The accident took place before school let out for the day, said Scott White, a public information officer for the Highway Patrol.
Highway Patrol tweeted a photo of the location where the accident occurred.
Asked whether Heese was at Battle High School on Friday to direct end-of-school-day traffic, Michelle Baumstark, community relations director for Columbia Public Schools, said, “Columbia Public Schools has school resource officers that are like police officers that are present at the building every day.”
White said he did not know if Heese had been assigned to be at Battle High School on Friday, or if she was a part of the group of officers regularly assigned to the high school.
Gabriella’s parents work for Student Transportation of America, the bus contractor for the district, Baumstark said.
Peter Stiepleman, superintendent for the district, said in a tweet Friday, “We are absolutely devastated by this terrible tragedy. Our counseling team will be available now and next week. To our BHS staff who responded alongside first responders, we are grateful for your compassion and selflessness. There really are no words.”
A comprehensive incident report is in the works, and it will be available to the public in a month, White said.