Who was Cariann Hithon? Remembering the Temple student who was killed by police in Miami
‘This is so shocking to me’
22-year old Temple University student Cariann Hithon was pronounced dead yesterday while in Miami, Florida.
According to the Miami Herald, Hithon initially crashed her car into several other cars. After attempting to flee, she hit police officer Dave Cajuso before being shot by another officer. She was then taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
There is a video that surfaced on Instagram that shows the tragic event taking place and reveals she was with a male passenger whose information has not been disclosed. The male passenger gets out before Hithon hits Cajuso.
Hithon was in the Miami area to celebrate her birthday.
“This is so shocking to me. It doesn’t reflect her behavior at all,” said Julian Mathis, a former classmate of Hithon from Hampton University.
Witnesses claimed that Hithon had been very drunk, according to the Miami Herald.
“I couldn’t even imagine what I was reading,” said Alexandria Loretta, another friend of Hithon's from Hampton. “And if we did have drinks, it was socially, and were both responsible afterwards.”
Prosecutors have opened an inquiry into whether the shooting of Hithon was necessary, according to the Miami Herald.
Bobby Jenkins, the president of the Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police, released a statement where he defended the officer who shot and killed Hithon.
“It is unfortunate that yesterday’s events ended in the loss of life, yet it is an officer’s duty to ensure the safety of the public under the imminent threat of harm from an individual,” said Jenkins.
Hithon was a transfer student to Temple University from Bowie, Maryland who was pursuing a Political Science and Philosophy degree. Before attending Temple, she was a student at Hampton University who was part of the honors college and a mentor in the Sister To Sister program, according to her LinkedIn account.
Her Instagram account shows a couple of photos that Hithon took while down in Florida.
Hithon’s friends had many positive things to say about her.
“I met her and became good friends with her during my sophomore year,” said Loretta. “She has always been a good friend, good energy and genuine spirit.
My heart is broken and shocked at the news, I will always cherish the friendship & laughs we shared at HU. Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/o5F0k7NnWF
— Alexandria Loretta (@AyeM0) October 9, 2017
“We met freshman year when we got put in a group project together and became friends when we found out we were from the same area back home,” said Mathis. “Cariann was a sweet, kind girl, very involved, and a happy person.”
Temple Student Government released a statement on Twitter following the tragic event.
Statement regarding the tragic event in Miami that led to the loss of our own Cariann Denise Hithon. pic.twitter.com/Ua8lDhk4bn
— Temple Student Gov't (@TempleTSG) October 10, 2017
TSG praised Hithon for participating in mentorship programs for community children for years prior to her transfer to Temple, and for holding a leadership fellowship position through the University of California.
“We are so proud and grateful to have had her as a Temple Owl,” said TSG.
Officer Cajuso, who was hit by Hithon’s car, was also sent to the hospital, but is reportedly in stable condition, according to the Inquirer.
The officer who shot Hithon was placed on administrative leave as the Miami-Dade Police Department placed an investigation, according to the Inquirer. His name has yet to be released to the public.