Breaking News Emails
A 6-year-old boy who was clinging to life after he got shot at his South Carolina school playground earlier this week has died, his family and the county coroner said Saturday.
Jacob Hall was critically wounded at Townville Elementary School on Wednesday when a 14-year-old opened fire, authorities said. Another boy and a teacher were also injured by the bullets, and were later released from the hospital.
Jacob's parents in an emotional statement said he died surrounded by family.
"Jacob came into our lives six years and four months ago and changed it completely," Renae and Rodger Hall said. "He showed us how to love, laugh and smile even on days we did not want to. God gave him to us and he was taken away from us by a senseless act. We know that Jacob has already forgiven this child for what he did to him and his family because that's the kind of child he was."
In a Facebook post, Jacob's older brother said that "God took his strongest soldier."
"Jacob will be with us forever and always in our hearts. I love you little brother and I can't wait till the day we meet again," Gerald Gambrell wrote.
The first-grader lost 75 percent of his blood from a bullet, which pierced his femoral artery in his thigh, officials said. He was rushed to Greenville Health System Children's Hospital, where he had multiple surgeries after going into cardiac arrest.
Anderson County coroner Greg Shore told NBC News that Jacob, who had been on life support, died just before 1 p.m. ET Saturday.
His family had said Friday that Jacob was fighting for his life.
"Jacob is in very critical condition, and we are hanging on every second," the family said in a statement.
Greenville Health System Children's Hospital called him a "fighter" Saturday and said it was grieving his death.
“Jacob was a tremendous fighter but was unable to overcome the catastrophic blood loss and resulting cardiopulmonary arrest caused when the bullet hit his femoral artery,” said Dr. Keith Webb with the hospital.
Jacob's death makes him one of the youngest victims of a school shooting in America since the 2012 rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, when 20 first-graders were killed.
Sandy Hook Promise, an organization that works to prevent gun violence, offered condolences to the Hall family Saturday.
"We know firsthand the anguish his friends, family, teachers and classmates are facing. This didn’t have to happen, it should not have happened, and we are deeply saddened to add Townville, and any town, to the growing list of American communities forever touched by gun violence," the group said in a statement.
Authorities say the 14-year-old boy accused of the school shooting first shot his father to death before going to Townville Elementary, several miles away. He was charged as a juvenile Friday with murder and three counts of attempted murder.
The sheriff's office will meet with prosecutors to consider upgrading charges against the 14-year-old suspect once an autopsy is complete, authorities said Saturday.