A simple childish spat over a puppy led an 11-year-old boy to shoot and kill his eight-year-old neighbor in the US state of Tennessee, the girl’s grieving mother said.
Latasha Dyer said her daughter was playing outside when the boy asked to see her puppy. Little McKayla said “no,” and shortly after was shot in the chest.
“When we first moved to White Pine, the little boy was bullying McKayla,” Latasha Dyer told WATE 6 news in a video posted on the station’s website Sunday.
“He was making fun of her, calling her names, just being mean to her. I had to go the principal about him and he quit for a while and then all of a sudden yesterday he shot her.”
Dyer was overcome with emotion as she spoke to the local television station from the front steps of a home in White Pine, Tennessee.
“I want her back in my arms, this is not fair. Hold and kiss your babies every night because you’re never promised the next day with them,” she said. “I hope the little boy learned his lesson because he took my baby’s life — and I can’t get her back.”
She described her daughter as “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.”
Jefferson County Sheriff Bud McCoig said the boy has been charged with first degree murder.
A judge ordered him held in a juvenile detention center until the next hearing, which was set for October 28, McCoig said.
“It’s a tragic incident we’ve had that an 11-year-old would take an eight-year-old’s life,” he said in a telephone interview.
The small town near Knoxville is reeling, but the local school and churches have stepped up to help people come to grips with the “shocking instance,” he said.