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Klamath Falls police investigating Saturday gun deaths of teenage sisters

Klamath Falls sisters Aleeka and Zion Qualls
Courtesy of Courtney Franklin/GoFundMe
Klamath Falls sisters Aleeka and Zion Qualls

The two deaths over the weekend have shocked the Klamath Falls community. Friends and family mourn while police look for answers.

According to a press release from police, Klamath Falls officers were responding to a call about an armed man hiding in a home on Saturday morning, threatening those inside, when they heard gunfire. After authorities entered the residence, they found two victims with gunshot wounds. Both died due to their injuries.

According to family members, those victims are 19-year-old Aleeka Qualls and her 14-year-old sister Zion. The sisters’ aunt, Courtney Franklin, said the family is in shock.

“We're not going to be able to recover. You can never recover from something like this,” she said.

Police arrested 20-year-old Elijah Croy at the scene and charged him with two counts of murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon. They say the investigation is ongoing. No motive and few details have been released so far.

Franklin said Aleeka was planning to move in with her to attend college in Sacramento in the fall. She was interested in make-up and real estate and was going to join a program for African American students.

Aleeka and Zion Qualls are seen with their mother Crystal Davis.
Courtesy of Courtney Franklin
Aleeka and Zion Qualls are seen with their mother Crystal Davis.

Franklin said the girls’ had a close relationship with her sister, Crystal Davis, and that their mother loved them immensely.

“The girls were wonderful. They were the best. They were best friends and sisters. And they loved pink. They were really girly girls,” she said.

A GoFundMe page has already raised nearly $40,000 for the sisters’ family as of July 2.

“They are victims of senseless violence, and we need to keep the attention on them. This has been a difficult time for everyone in the community and my family,” Tashka Qualls, the sisters’ father and a well-known tattoo artist in Klamath Falls, posted on Facebook.

A candlelight vigil will be held for the sisters on July 3 at 8 p.m. at the Klamath Christian Center’s outdoor amphitheater.

Justin Higginbottom is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. He's worked in print and radio journalism in Utah as well as abroad with stints in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. He spent a year reporting on the Myanmar civil war and has contributed to NPR, CNBC and Deutsche Welle (Germany’s public media organization).