Death – Kids shot and killed in 2021 could set gun violence record

Death – Obituary

Elyjah Munson, 11

The family peacemaker

By 11, Elyjah Munson had already become his family’s most gifted peacemaker. No one knew for sure how he’d developed his preternatural skill for saying just the right words at just the right moment, but his adult relatives marveled at it.

Often, when his two older brothers would start to argue in their Riverdale, Ga., home, the boys’ maternal grandmother, Grace Wells, wouldn’t intervene, because Elyjah would instead.

“So why did you do that to him?” he’d ask one brother, before turning to the other. “Well, why did you do that to him?”

His 12-year-old cousin, TJ, is autistic and feared crowded spaces, but he’d venture into Walmart with Elyjah, who would guide him through the store.

His four grandparents were his best friends, and their influence had shaped his temperament. He learned patience with his father’s father — “Granddaddy” — with whom he spent hours watching “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Gunsmoke,” black-and-white programs that most kids would find unbearable. With his mother’s father — “Papa” — he learned attentiveness, checking on him each day after school and volunteering to fix the computer when it stopped working.

One day at a grocery store, Wells grew annoyed with how long an elderly woman ahead of them in line was taking to load her items. She told Elyjah they should find another register.

“No, Granny, we should just help her put the stuff up,” she recalled him saying, and that’s what he did.

Elyjah, whose cheeks swelled when he smiled, enjoyed pranks, and for April Fools’ Day one year, he set a trap in a closet for one of his brothers. When Wells opened the door, out fell a book and a shoe. She hollered, and Elyjah rushed into the room, mortified.

“I’m sorry, Granny!” he said. “That wasn’t supposed to be for you.”

Elyjah had always cared about people, just as he did on the afternoon of Dec. 9, when he called his mother, Kendall Munson. He asked if he could pick up snacks — but only after his brothers got home, so they could get some, too.

For a time, Munson’s three oldest sons had lived with her in Chicago, but she’d sent them back to live with their grandparents in Georgia, where they would be safe from the gun violence ravaging the Windy City.

She still doted on her sons from afar. When Elyjah’s brothers got home, she sent them money for the snacks and off they went, walking to a nearby gas station. Elyjah wanted a Minute Maid Lemonade, Doritos, and Mike and Ike candies.

The family has pieced together what happened on the way home from police, a neighbor and Elyjah’s 12-year-old brother, Jorden. A group of children were walking together as Elyjah trailed behind with one of his best friends, who was showing off a gun he’d taken out of his backpack.

“Man, you play too much,” one of the kids said, then the boy raised the gun and fired it, sending a round into Elyjah’s head.

The 12-year-old boy who shot him wanted them to make up a story, blaming a drive-by shooting, Wells said Jorden later told her. Weeping, he refused.

“I’m not going to lie,” he said. “You just killed my brother.”

The boy, who played with Elyjah nearly every day, was charged with murder, but Munson is convinced the shooting was an accident. His friend, she said, wouldn’t have done that.

Wells has also struggled to accept that the boy killed her grandson on purpose, but her disbelief has less to do with the shooter than with Elyjah. At his funeral, she listened to one person after another share how he had made their lives happier, richer, more peaceful.

How could anyone want to end the life of that child?

— John Woodrow Cox

Source link

What Is An Obituary

In national newspapers an obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a prominent person. Although it tends to focus on positive aspects of the subject’s life this is not always the case. According to Nigel Farndale, the Obituaries Editor of The Times: “Obits should be life affirming rather than gloomy, but they should also be opinionated, leaving the reader with a strong sense of whether the subject lived a good life or bad; whether they were right or wrong in the handling of their public affairs.”

In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.