Vigil Held in Plymouth to Honor 7-Year-Old Who Died from Accidental, Self-Inflicted Gunfire

May 18, 2018 10:38 PM

The moment 7-year-old Keyaris Samuels pulled the trigger on a gun he found, he died and fractured the rest of his family.

His mom, Keke Samuels along with scores of other relatives shared hugs and a lot of heartache with folks at his memorial Friday. They held it at their home on Shenandoah Lane, where the first-grader lived and where he died.


RELATED: Following Accidental Shooting Death of 7-Year-Old, Police Encourage Parents to Talk to Kids About Gun Safety

"He was a little boy, but an old soul," his Grandmother, Melissa Coleman, said

About 200 people, including Samuels' classmates, friends, neighbors, teachers from Meadow Ridge Elementary and extended family gathered to share sympathy and support. Many brought stuffed teddy bears. It was a comforting gesture, given the boy's nickname: Bear. Samuels has been called "Bear" since the day he was born. His mother explained why.

"He was born all hairy, hair everywhere on his body, he even held a piece of hair in his hand," she said.

The circumstances of Keyaris' death only adds to his family's agony.  Last Tuesday, the family said they reportedly bought a second-hand hoverboard and Wednesday, Keyaris opened the taped up box with the toy inside and reportedly discovered a gun in there too.  

Like any seven-year-old, he was curious and wondered if it was real or if it was a toy. Keyaris pulled the trigger. One bullet killed him. 

"Our boy got his wings that day," his grandmother said.

His loved ones have just been trying to survive since then. The vigil was one way to bring people who were important in Keyaris life together, to mourn and remember. There were prayers and spiritual songs. There were a lot of tears.

RELATED: Investigators Trying to Find Owner of Gun 7-Year-Old Accidentally Shot Himself With

Relatives have planned a story time session for next Thursday, "Bear Time." His funeral is next Friday at noon at Greater Mount Vernon Church.

Plymouth Police said Friday they are waiting on test results of the gun and bullet. If there is enough DNA left on them, they might be able to tell who handled and owned the gun previously.


Beth McDonough

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