‘I still don’t want to accept it’: Mom of 16-year-old killed in Roanoke reflects on his life one year later

Jaquice Kearney died after a shooting near 30th Street and Salem Turnpike

One year ago, LeShay Kearney got a call no mother should ever get. Her baby boy had been shot and killed in Roanoke at only 16 years old.

ROANOKE, Va. – One year ago, LeShay Kearney got a call no mother should ever get. Her baby boy had been shot and killed in Roanoke at only 16 years old.

“I still don’t want to accept it, but hopefully one day I will,” said Kearney.

According to police, two teen boys were shot near 30th street and Salem Turnpike. One victim recovered from their injuries, according to police.

The suspect, who was 15 years old, has been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault and two counts of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The other victim, Jaquice Kearney, 16, died.

“I’m more frustrated at the fact that they were supposed to be friends,” stated Kearney. “You don’t hurt your friends. He betrayed him.”

The aftermath of the shooting was posted on social media before his family got to see him, and she tried to brush it off. However, negative comments online about her son took a toll on her too.

“It was real frustrating,” said Kearney. “I had to focus on me because there was so much going on and so much being taken away from me. I said if I give them the rest of what I have left, I’m going to lose my mind. I just gotta ignore it.”

Kearney reflected on her initial reaction to his death.

“Like I said last year — nobody has a perfect child. No kid was perfect. He was a really, really good boy.”

His mom says the 16-year-old wanted to be an engineer and that he was well-loved by everyone who knew him.

“I just want justice to be served. That’s it,” said Kearney.

WSLS 10 News reached out to the Roanoke City Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for an update on this case, but we have not heard back.


About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.