By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Autumn Rose Merrick was only 18 years old when her life was taken from her.

She was an innocent bystander on her way home from work, on a scooter, when one of two vehicles involved in a rolling gun battle drove on the sidewalk and hit and killed her.

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Autumn was only 5-feet-2-inches tall, but she was a giant of a daughter, sister, cousin, friend and classmate. Carmane Teetzel is her mother.

“She was so beautiful, she stands out in a crowd,” Carmane said.

Autumn was known for her sweet smile and for putting everyone’s needs before hers. That’s why so many considered her their best friend.

“Just a happy person, loved everybody and everything, and never judged anybody about anything about them,” Carmane said.

Autumn had a love of animals and a flare for fashion. She rarely repeated a hairstyle, and loved to accessorize with glasses. The recent Southwest High School graduate was also one of the founding members of Green Garden Bakery, an award-winning youth-run business selling vegetable-based desserts.

“I think Autumn really appreciated the experience that she got with Ms. Elana, learning a lot of different, new things, you know, just open up her eyes,” Carmane said.

Autumn and her mother had a special bond, as she was the oldest of nine. Casey Nimmerfroh is her godmother.

Autumn Merrick (credit: Carmane Teetzel)

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“She was very responsible, you know, working, going to school, helping Carmane take care of the kids,” Casey said.

Autumn’s mom says she always knew where her daughter was and what she was doing. That was also the case the night her life was taken.

“She just got off work, and all she wanted was a couple things from the store so she could enjoy the rest of her night at home. That’s where she was going is home,” Carmane said.

But she never made it.

“The sad thing about it is I left the door unlocked for her to come in so she wouldn’t be stuck outside all night,” Carmane said.

Parents, brothers, sisters, close family and friends are all left wondering why her. David Merrick is her father.

“There’s words that can say to bring anyone back or bring her back,” David said. “It just hurts.”

“I always try to make my daughter be so safe, and just for somebody just to take it away, all that hard work that you do, you know, and it’s gone.”

Autumn’s family wants the violence to stop. They also want those responsible for her death to be brought to justice.

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Autumn helped her mother with her siblings. A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses and to help her brothers and sisters.

Reg Chapman