Shortly after authorities charged two other young men, a third has been arrested in connection with a drive-by shooting that killed an innocent bystander: a 13-year-old boy.
Jaden Zaire Jenkins, 19, was arrested Monday for capital murder, Tuscaloosa County officials said, according to AL.com. Julian Lamont Gordon Jr., 21, and James Deanthony Reed, 18, were previously charged for the same crime for killing Kei’Lan Allen.
Authorities say the child was shot dead in a drive-by shooting Friday. He was reportedly in his room wearing Beats headphones and playing on his iPad. Cousin Corey Prewitt said that the child’s mother Christina Barnes called out his name after the shooting, according to the outlet.
“He didn’t answer after that, so she walked in the room, and he was slumped over,” he said. “She just grabbed him and was telling him, ‘I love you. I love you.’ An innocent child with a bullet hole in his head.”
Slain in his bed, Allen was remembered by his family as a straight-A student at Westlawn Middle School.
“Anyone who knows Kei’lan knows that he was all about peace and staying to himself,” said Prewitt. “He had no idea that his life was going to be taken from him, being in the safest location he could possibly be – his own home.”
He is survived by his three younger sisters and his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, according to a GoFundMe campaign to support his family. His mother wants to move because of the shooting, Prewitt said.
— Annie Mapp (@AnnieMapp_) October 19, 2021
“She is now seeking to find new living arrangements to accommodate her as well as her daughters, due to the traumatic experience she was forced to physically see, so I am creating this Go Fund Me account in hopes to bless my aunt in finding her new home,” Prewitt wrote. “There are no plans of her returning to the old home she lost her son in, her oldest born and precious loved child, so I’m taking matters into my own hands in hopes of raising enough money to get her a new home.”
Though authorities did not share the alleged motive, they suggested an older relative of Allen’s was the actual target.
Jenkins, Gordon, and Reed are all reportedly held at the Tuscaloosa County Jail.
Despite what happened, Allen’s grandmother Georgia Black called the defendants babies, and she said she could not get into heaven if she held a grudge against them, according to WVUA.
Even so, she has said that the killing was senseless.
FAMILY MEMBERS OF TUSCALOOSA 13 YEAR OLD MURDERED ARE SPEAKING OUT ABOUT THE SHOOTING. Georgia Black is heartbroken and angry, she is the grandmother of victim 13 year old Kei’lan Allen. She says his murder was senseless and she wants the 3 arrested for murder to be punished pic.twitter.com/K341pBXCLP
— Tim Reid (@reidreporterguy) October 19, 2021
“I know where my baby is,” the grandmother told WVUA. “My baby went back to where he came from. God needed him for something. He was too good for this earth.”
[Screenshot of Jenkins and Reed via WVUA, and screenshot of Gordon via Xavier Harris / @XavierWVTM13 on Twitter]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]