An argument between two children over puppies turned into a tragedy on Saturday when an 11-year-old boy allegedly shot and killed his 8-year-old neighbor with a shotgun.
via USA Today:
Jefferson County Sheriff Bud McCoig said the boy, who has been charged as a juvenile, used his father’s 12-gauge single-shot shotgun to shoot and kill the girl from inside his house.
Police have not disclosed a motive, but neighbors said the boy shot the MaKayla, who was outside, from his bedroom.
MaKayla was playing across the street with neighbors — outside the boy’s home — when she and the boy had a conversation through an open window, said Chasity Arwood, a neighbor.
“He asked the little girl to see her puppies. She said no and laughed and then turned around, looked at her friend and said, ‘Let’s go get the –‘ and never got ‘puppies’ out.” The boy had shot MaKayla with a shotgun, Arwood said.
“Seeing a baby laying there and not being able to help — it is really heartbreaking. I mean, it is. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.
Latasha Dyer told WATE-TV her daughter was playing outside when the next-door neighbor asked to see the puppy. McKayla told the boy “no,” and he shot her, Dyer said.
“She was a precious little girl. She was a mommy’s girl. No matter how bad of a mood you were in she could always make you smile,” Dyer told the station. “I want her back in my arms.”
A neighbor, Misty Edwards, said her niece was playing with the girl and saw what happened.
“It breaks my heart because it’s my niece and daughter’s best friend,” said Edwards.
MaKayla was a second-grader at White Pine Elementary School, the same school where the boy was in fifth grade, McCoig said.
On Monday, White Pine School principal Bill Walker said there would be extra counselors at school this week.
“It’s not just the school that’s hurting, it’s the whole community.”
He said MaKayla was a beautiful little girl and a great student.
“We remember her smile and her beautiful face and her interaction with her classmates and with all of us as a staff.”
McCoig said the shooting happened in a neighborhood where all the kids knew each other and played together. White Pine is about 40 miles east of Knoxville, Tenn.
Dyer told WATE-TV that the boy had bullied her daughter before, when they first moved to the neighborhood.
“He was making fun of her, calling her names, just being mean to her,” she said. “I had to go to the principal about him and he quit for a while, and then all of a sudden (Saturday) he shot her.”
McCoig said the boy came from a family with six children. They can not say whether he had any mental problems right now, but the state Department of Children’s Services is investigating.
The boy was scheduled to appear in court Monday on a charge of first-degree murder. The hearing was closed because he is a juvenile. A judge could determine at a later date whether the case should be transferred to adult court.
Funeral services for MaKayla are planned for Thursday. The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to help with funeral expenses at Cooke-Campbell Mortuary in Maynardville, Tenn.
The madness HAS to stop. We’re not ones to get all political, but we seriously need to do something about gun control in this country.
— Shelby Miller (@ShelbyMillerCBS) October 5, 2015