A 10-year-old California boy who was shot over the weekend died because the shooter, also said to be 10 years old, angrily opened fire after losing a bicycle race, the victim's mother said Tuesday.
The shooter was being a "sore loser" after the informal race late Saturday afternoon in Foothill Farms, a community about 16 miles northeast of Sacramento, and consequently shot and killed Keith “KJ” Frierson, said KJ’s mother, Brittani Frierson.
She said she was basing her account on what she was told by a neighbor's child, who was among the kids riding their bikes before the shooting.
Frierson gave KJ permission to ride his bicycle — which he had "begged" for for Christmas — before the attack, she said. Less than 15 minutes later, she said, she ran outside after neighbors began banging on her door and shouting that something had happened to her son.
"I screamed for hours after I saw my child on that ground, because I could just see that he had no chance," Frierson said. "I just knew that my child was gone."
Authorities booked a suspect, whose name was withheld because he's a juvenile, on suspicion of murder.
His father, Arkete Davis, 53, was booked on suspicion of possession of a firearm by a felon, criminal storage of a firearm, carrying a stolen loaded firearm in a vehicle, child endangerment and acting as an accessory to a crime after the fact, according to inmate records.
He was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday. It wasn't clear whether either suspect retained legal counsel. The area public defender's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said in an email that it could not comment on the case.
Investigators believe Davis tried to dispose of the gun in a trash can after the attack, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
The shooting suspect was dispatched by his father to retrieve cigarettes from his car and, while there, grabbed the gun, which was stolen and improperly stored, the sheriff’s office said. The child “took a gun from inside the vehicle and bragged that his father had a gun,” according to the sheriff’s office, and “proceeded to shoot the victim once and ran into a nearby apartment.”
Frierson said the neighbor’s child told her that the shooter angrily walked off after he lost the race and returned with a gun. After he came back, he shot KJ in the neck without saying a word, Frierson said.
In an email, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Amar Gandhi said Frierson relayed what the neighborhood child told her when she spoke with the office earlier Tuesday. There was, “Nothing to add on our end,” Gandhi said, noting that it was a, “Sad situation all around.”
Frierson described her son as generous, smart, friendly, inquisitive and helpful. He was always helping the older women in the neighborhood bring in their groceries, she said.
"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,'" Frierson said through tears.
Last year, KJ found a new community in the Sacramento Youth Football team Jr. Football Mustangs, which said in a statement that he "will truly be missed by all of your Mustangs family and friends."
Frierson said one of her fondest memories of KJ was his unbridled joy after he reached a championship game with his brother and other teammates, just days after he found out that his father had died.
The mother said that the shooting suspect would often knock on her door to ask to play with her kids and that she was heartbroken that her son was allegedly killed by someone he considered a friend.
She alleged that the suspect's father was "careless" with a firearm.
"For you to be so careless, to have something like that — a gun — easily accessible to your 10-year-old child, it just says a lot about you," Frierson said, addressing Davis.