Pastor remembers Roanoke boy who died in shooting

11-year-old Khalil Abdullah Lavon Burt
11-year-old Khalil Abdullah Lavon Burt (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A community is still searching for answers after an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed by a 10-year-old on Thursday.

Police say the two were playing with a handgun found in a home in the 2000 block of Carroll Avenue in Northwest Roanoke.

The 11-year-old boy's pastor has identified him as Kahlil Burt. He was killed the same day he graduated from Westside Elementary School.

WSLS 10 obtained a copy of the search warrant filed by Roanoke City police. It revealed that on Thursday, police found a pistol, bullets and a cartridge case along with a cell phone they collected as evidence from the scene.

Grief stricken, the Kahlil's mother mourned alongside a community still searching answers on how a tragedy like this could happen to an innocent young boy.

"He was often out on the front porch waiting on us Sunday mornings. He would beat me here to the church," said Rev. David Jones with Williams Memorial Baptist Church.

Jones said Kahlil was at church every Sunday and he remembers the day Kahlil asked to be baptized. A spiritual moment Jones says he feels blessed to be part of.

"That's one of the things I remember about him. Just the look on his face when he went into the water and when he came back out," continued Jones. "He always had that big infectious smile. That's one of the first things that people remember about him. There was just another level to it that day. He was almost glowing that day in my eyes."

A bright boy the reverend said still had much to give.

"He was a very affectionate young man. He would run up and hug you as soon as he saw you," said Jones.

Balloons have been placed in the boy's front yard where there are still toys scattered, as if he only stepped away for a moment.

Jones says Kahlil's mother needed medical treatment after hearing the news of what happened to her son.

"What do you say at a time like this? What do you say when there really are no words?" asked Jones.

In a small, tight-nit neighborhood, full of people who saw the two boys playing together almost every day, there remains unanswered questions the reverend is now answering with scripture on Sunday morning from the gospel of John.

"What I want to convey to the people right now is that Jesus presence is with us now. Because of that, Kahlil is absent from the body, but present with the Lord," said Jones.

When a tragedy like this happens, it affects more than just the family, but an entire community.

Funeral arrangements as well as a vigil have not been planned, but will be in the coming days.

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