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Mother and Sister Plead for New Leads Months After Kentucky Nursing Student Died in Mysterious, Early Morning Drive-by Shooting

Lea Ann Lewis, and Hannah Averitt.

Lea Ann Lewis, and Hannah Averitt.

For several months, the mysterious drive-by shooting of a University of Kentucky nursing student this past spring has gone unsolved, but law enforcement investigating the case wants to turn up the heat on the elusive killer or killers.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘cold,'” Lexington police Detective Anthony Delimpo told WDKY, referring to the as-yet vexing case.

Jesse Averitt, 28, was playing video games, as his fiancé was in the house. Delimpo said police never believed they were the intended targets in that March 4 tragedy on the 900 block of De Porres Avenue.

But months have passed with no sign of any suspects or suspects. Averitt’s mother and sister are stepping forward, asking the public for any information on the case.

“His partner, Brandon called me and I was asleep and didn’t hear the phone ring,” Averitt’s mother Lea Ann Lewis told the TV station. “He said ‘Jesse’s been shot! Jesse’s been shot!’ and I was like, ‘I’m dreaming. This is not really happening.'”

She was the only person allowed to say goodbye to him at the hospital because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

“I went in and kissed him goodbye and rubbed his hair,” she said. “It was just a horrible, horrible day.”

His sister Hannah Averitt said Jesse was just months from graduating from the University of Kentucky and preparing to buy his first house with his partner, whom he’d been with for 10 years.

“And, someone took that from him,” she said. “Like his life meant nothing and I just don’t accept that.”

Eighteen shots reportedly struck Jesse’s home.

Police have said officers responded to the residence shortly after 2 a.m. that March 4.The shots were from outside the home, they said.

“A witness reported seeing a vehicle leave the area at a high rate of speed immediately after the shooting,” they wrote. “Police do not have any suspect description at this time.”

Averitt’s fiancé Brandon Ward told Lexington Herald Leader in a May report they had been up later than usual that night.

He heard shots, got on the ground, crawled over, and saw a door getting shot up, he said. Ward said he checked on Jesse.

“He was bleeding,” he said. “He said he had been shot, and that’s the last thing he had told me.”

Ward said he wanted to know why their house was targeted, and whether it was the wrong residence.

“I remember him as he was the best person that I had met my whole entire life,” he said.

Delimpo suggests that the the person or people responsible talked about what happened.

“Whoever did this has talked to somebody and they’ve talked to somebody,” he said. “And we want to use this as a means for someone to reach out to us and tell us who did it.”

There is reportedly a $1,000 reward for information on the murder.

From police:

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Lexington Police by calling (859) 258-3600. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Bluegrass Crime Stoppers by calling (859) 253-2020, online at, or through the P3 tips app available at

[Screenshot via WDKY]

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