Makayla Dyer: 11-Year-Old Boy Murdered 8-Year-Old Neighbor With Shotgun After Quarrel Over A Puppy [Video]
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, an 11-year-old Tennessee boy has been charged with first-degree murder after he shot and killed an 8-year-old girl who lived next door with his dad’s shotgun.
The boy allegedly shot his neighbor after a quarrel over a puppy.
The victim in the shooting, a third grader, has been identified as 8-year-old Makayla Dyer, but the identity of the shooter, a fifth grader, has not been released. Police authorities confirmed that the boy was taken into custody on Saturday and charged with first-degree murder.
The victim and shooter attended the same school — White Pine Elementary School, WBIR reports.
White Pine Police said that the 11-year-old used his father’s 12-guage single-shot shotgun to kill his next-door neighbor, Makayla Dyer, after she refused to let him see her puppy.
According to Makayla’s mother, Latasha Dyer, who broke into tears on Sunday morning as she recalled the tragic incident the night before, her daughter was playing with her puppy outside her home at a trailer park in White Pine at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday when the boy approached her and asked to see her puppy.
When Makayla told the boy that he could not see her puppy, he went inside his home to fetch his father’s shotgun and shot Makayla in the chest, firing his gun from inside his home.
Sheriff Bud McCoig said that police were called to the trailer park at 3223 Robin Road in White Pine, at about 7:30 p.m., after shots rang out. Responding officers found Makayla on the ground with gunshot wounds in her chest.
She was rushed to Morristown-Hamblen Hospital, where doctors later pronounced her dead.
A neighbor, Misty Edwards, said her niece, Hannah, witnessed the incident. Hannah was playing with Makayla when the incident happened, she said.
“It breaks my heart because it’s my niece and daughter’s best friend,” Edwards said.
Another neighbor, Chasity Arwood, said she was watching a football game when she heard a loud bang and then screaming that someone had been shot.
Chasity said, “Wanting to see a puppy, the little girl laughed and told him no, and that was it. Guns should be under lock and key if you have a child, nowhere in arms reach of a child.”
Latasha said the boy had bullied her daughter since the family moved to the neighborhood.
“He was making fun of her, calling her names — just being mean to her. I had to go the principal about him, and he quit for a while,” she told WATE, “and then all of a sudden yesterday he shot her.”
The grieving mother added, “She was a precious little girl, she was a mommy’s girl — no matter how bad of a mood you were in, she could always make you smile.”
She continued in tears, “I want her back in my arms, this is not fair. Hold and kiss your babies every night because you’re never promised the next day with them. I hope the little boy learned his lesson because he took my baby’s life and I can’t get her back.”
Meanwhile, the boy has been charged in a juvenile court and a judge will decide whether the case should go to an adult court.
According to Sheriff McCoig, it was unclear whether the boy, who has five siblings, has mental health issues. But the Department of Child Services was investigating.
The boy reportedly took the gun from a closet where his father kept it with a BB gun.
The father, who has not been charged, admitted that his son has experience with guns, having accompanied him on several hunting trips.
Sheriff McCoig told the New York Daily News that the incident was the saddest he has ever handled in more than three decades of law enforcement.
“We lost an 8-year-old child, and our department is hurting,” he said.
“This one has really taken a toll. It’s just an awful thing,” he added.
He said the incident was particularly painful because it happened in a neighborhood in which all the kids knew each other and hung out together.
The principal of White Pine Elementary School, Bill Walker, held a news conference on Monday morning.
“White Pine community has experienced a tragedy, with a shooting death of a student,” he said in a statement. “The staff of White Pine School and Jefferson County Schools are saddened by this incident, but want to assure parents and community that counselors are on site to assist students and staff. Our thoughts and prayers are with those involved from both families.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for Makayla’s funeral.
[Image: Screengrab: WATE; GoFundMe]