A 10-year-old boy was shot dead by another boy of the same age after losing a bicycle race, the victim’s mother has claimed.
Keith “KJ” Frierson was found bleeding from the head and neck at about 4.30pm in a Californian suburb on Saturday, with police arresting a boy, 10, and his father.
The boy suspect was being a “sore loser” after the race in Foothill Farms – about 16 miles northeast of Sacramento – and took aim at KJ, according to his mother Brittani Frierson.
She had given KJ permission to ride the bike – which she says he “begged” to get for Christmas – just 15 minutes before neighbours banged on her door, reports Sky News’ US partner network NBC News.
“I screamed for hours after I saw my child on that ground, because I could just see that he had no chance,” Ms Frierson said, adding she was told what happened by a neighbour’s child, who was also in the race.
“I just knew that my child was gone.”
The 10-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder, while his father – identified as 53-year-old Arkete Davis – was arrested on suspicion of carrying a stolen, loaded firearm in a vehicle, child endangerment and being an accessory to a crime after the fact.
Police say the 10-year-old boy had gone to his father’s truck to get him cigarettes and found a loaded gun.
He took it and “bragged that his father had a gun”, according to police, and then “proceeded to shoot the victim once and ran into a nearby apartment”.
That’s when police believe Davis tried to hide the gun by allegedly throwing it in a nearby bin.
Ms Frierson said the neighbour’s child told her the boy angrily walked off after he lost the race and returned with a gun – shooting KJ in the neck without saying a word.
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Amar Gandhi said Ms Frierson has recounted what her neighbour’s child told her.
There was “nothing to add on our end”, he said, adding it was a “sad situation all around”.
‘Such a good kid’
Ms Frierson said her son was always helping older women in their neighbourhood to carry their shopping, and was a generous, smart and friendly boy.
“There’s nobody that met that boy that did not come back and tell me, to the side, like ‘your son – you raised that boy good, he’s such a good kid’,” she said, as neighbours gathered for a vigil in his memory.
KJ last year joined the Junior Football Mustangs – a youth American football team – which said he “will truly be missed by all of your Mustangs family and friends”.
Ms Frierson described one of her fondest memories of KJ was his joy on reaching a championship game with his brother and teammates just days after finding out his father had died.
She said the boy suspected of shooting her son would often knock on her door to ask to play with her children, and said she was heartbroken her son was allegedly killed by someone he considered a friend.
‘I will get justice’
The family blames Davis for the fates of both the boys.
“Instead of aiding my baby, he tried to hide it, he tried to cover it up,” Ms Frierson said.
“He will pay for this. He will. We’ll get justice for my son. I will get justice for my son.”
Davis remained in jail on Tuesday, with there being a $500,000 (£395,000) bail in place.
He is an ex-criminal who was “legally prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm”, the Sheriff’s Office said, adding the gun had been reported stolen in 2017.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the man had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.