A line of staples track the path that bullet took when it grazed the 6-year-old’s head just after midnight Sunday morning.
He was asleep in his bed at his 90-year-old great-grandfather’s house, where he also lives with his mother and father, when he was one of four people hit by shots fired from a passing car.
“I felt like a little fire ball in my head A little hot pot on my head,” the boy said of the bullet that grazed his head.
His mother, sitting on the front porch, was shot in her arm and leg. Another man, Dre Brown, was wounded and was still hospitalized Monday.
A second man — who neighbors said was a fixture in the neighborhood but slept many nights in a homeless shelter — was killed. Grady Memorial Hospital notified Atlanta police around 6:20 p.m. Sunday that Eugene Roberts had died, 18 hours after he was shot in the head.
Just released from the hospital, the boy was wearing an over-size Atlanta Braves t-shirt that reached his knees that the nurses gave him to wear to the church for a meeting of relatives, the pastor, neighbors and activists at a news conference announcing a reward.
“I started screaming and my grandma ran in,” the boy said. “When I was in the living room, my mama grabbed me. When she ran in, she fell on the floor and grabbed me.”
Advocates for the mostly elderly people who live in the neighborhood known as Joyland told reporters they believe the shooting was in retaliation for a shooting on Wednesday on the same street, Arthur Langford Jr. Place.
Police have described the shooting as a drive-by but they don’t have a motive. There have been no arrests, APD said.
While his mother, 29-year-old Takara Davis, was in surgery Monday, his grandmother and aunts protected him like a wall around a fortress, during a conversation with a reporter at the Macedonia Baptist Church on Thornton Street in southwest Atlanta. They insisted that his name not be used and frequently checked to see if he was too tired to answer questions. They worried about his emotional state.
Grandmother Valerie Long was walking toward the front door when she heard the shots. Then “the baby started screaming,” Long said, and moments later one of the men on the porch started hollering.
The 6-year-old shuffled cards with pictures of characters from the Scooby Doo cartoon, never looking up during the conversation Monday.
“My mama got shot three times,” he said.
He spoke softly and ended his “yes” and “no” answers with “ma’am.”
“My daddy thought it was fireworks,” the boy said. “My daddy heard my mama screaming and he came over there. He said that he was downstairs looking at TV. Then he ran over there (to my mother) and he saw me.”
Michael Langford, president of the advocacy group United Youth-Adult Conference, said the church community had raised $3,000 for a reward and Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta added another $2,000 for information that leads police to the shooter.
“Somebody always knows something. Somebody always hears something,” Langford said.
“This is not something we can take as a way of life,” Langford said.
“We must take a stand,” the Rev. Daniel Dixon said. “We will overcome all this unrighteousness.”