‘They were better than the world we live in’: Family remembers mother and daughter killed in Bristol shooting


BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Community members continue to mourn following a deadly shooting at a home in a Bristol, Tennessee neighborhood.

This incident sent shockwaves through the community. The two victims, Kristina Robinson and her daughter, Gabrielle Kennedy, were so loved by everyone they came into contact with, according to family members.

An outpouring of support and love is already visible across the Tri-Cities, with vigils held in memory of the two on Saturday and Sunday night.

Gabrielle Kennedy, known by “Gabby” to friends and family left a lasting impression on the student body of Tennessee High School.

Her father, Jesse Kennedy, described Gabby as “an amazing kid” who was just looking forward to attending college classes next year.

Gabby was a senior at Tennessee High School who played softball most of her life. However, she wasn’t only a star on the field, but also a star in the classroom.

Kennedy said his daughter had gotten one B in the past 12 years, maintaining straight A’s throughout her academic career, with her most recent accomplishment being accepted at ETSU to take classes.

Jennifer Testa, the Tennessee High Head Softball Coach, knew Gabby incredibly well. She said she had grown to learn so much about this young woman the past 2 1/2 years while playing on the team.

In her 15 years of coaching, Testa said she had never met another player or person for that matter who shined like Gabby. She said Gabby was “something special” and won the “best teammate award” almost every year.

“That is one person who loved more and harder than anybody I had ever met and I just want to be like her and I want to live the rest of my life doing what she did each and every day,” said Testa.

She said players looked up to her and she was a true leader and inspiration not only to teammates but everyone around her.

“Anytime you have something like this, it’s just a tragedy but to think of it happening to her is just so devastating she was just so amazing, she really, really was. I can’t stress that enough just what a great person she was,” said Testa.

She said she plans to meet with the team and brainstorm ways on how to honor Gabby’s memory, but as of right now, ideas are already circulating. This season will be dedicated to Gabby no matter what and Testa said she can even see future seasons being dedicated to her as well because of the impact she left on everyone’s life.

Tracy Romans not only lost her niece but her best friend and sister, Kristina. Romans said she got the call at 7:40 a.m. and it’s a call she’ll never forget. She described her emotions as a pure shock.

Pictured: Kristina Robinson

She said they’ve been a part of the Tri-Cities community for almost 30 years and in that time, Kristina and her daughter both shined as bright lights of positivity towards everyone they met.

“They were better than the world that we live in and I think that it is true. God needed them, more than we did here. They loved everybody so much and I know that they’ll continue to shine their light down on us,” said Romans.

Romans told News Channel 11’s Kelly Grosfield that they were always around to lift people up in times of need because that’s just the type of people they were. “They were probably two of the most positive people that I’ve ever met. Both of them had a smile that would light up the room. Whenever you were down, you could always turn to either of them,” she said.

Jesse Kennedy actually saw the events unfold firsthand. He said he received the doorbell camera notification and describes what he saw as “evil at its worst.”

“I had seen it happen live via the video footage that was being fed from the house and I gathered my stuff and went over there as quick as I could,” said Kennedy.

He arrived at the home as officers were still pulling into the active crime scene. It’s something no father should ever go through, but he said he is somewhat at peace knowing the person responsible is gone.

“That is the one thing that helps us hold it together that he knew he was guilty and he adjudicated himself and now he’s doing the time,” said Kennedy.

Despite the details surrounding this case, he wants people to focus on the two innocent lives that were taken too soon. He said the outpour of support has been amazing. While he and other family members might not be able to reply to every message, comment, or call, he said they have been received and the love means the world right now.

Pictured: Gabrielle Kennedy

Kennedy and other family members also expressed their deepest appreciation to the Bristol Tennessee police department as well as the local Children’s Advocacy Center for their work surrounding this case.

A funeral service will be held and live streamed on Friday, October 23 at 5 p.m. for both Kristiana and Gabby.

Friends who would like to sign or leave a message on Gabby’s casket are asked to bring a sharpie with them to the service.

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