A grieving mum has told of the moment she watched a gunman slaughter her eight-year-old son in a packed shopping mall.
Little Royta Giles Jr was blasted in the head during a gunfight in Alabama’s Riverchase Galleria at 3:18pm on Friday.
His mum – who did not want to be named – wept as she vowed the person would “answer” for the killing.
She told AL.com: “We heard gunshots and I grabbed them and we hit the ground. When we all got up, he was the only who didn’t get up.
“To the people who did this, if I could say anything to them, it’s I don’t care about justice or anything like that. I wouldn’t say I’m religious, I would say I’m more spiritual.”
“And the person who did this is going to have to answer for that whether it is to whoever they pray to or if it’s the streets.
“That’s my baby, my firstborn. This hits home. They took a good one.”
Royta had just finished Year 3 at Jonesboro Elementary School in Bessemer.
The family was waiting in line because coronavirus precautions limited shoppers in child’s clothing store Children’s Place.
Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzis said: “I’m extremely saddened to report that an eight-year-old male victim was pronounced deceased shortly after arriving at Children’s Hospital.
“This is certainly a tragic situation when you have an innocent child who gets caught in the middle of an altercation between others.”
He added that three other victims were hospitalised – an adult male, an adult female, and a little girl.
Their conditions are not immediately known.
Local mayor Frank V. Brocato said he paid a visit to offer his condolences to Royta’s family.
He said: “Of course they are devastated by this, and I want to ask all of the citizens of Hoover and the metropolitan area to pray for this family. Keep them in your prayers.”
No arrests have been made so far.