KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of a 2-year-old boy who found a gun and accidentally shot himself at a Kentwood apartment is pleading for the community to keep their weapons out of the hands of children.
Ki’Aire McCoy died at a hospital Friday. His great aunt told News 8 that the 2-year-old toddler made an impact on not only her family, but everyone he came in contact with.
“He’s two years old, so you know his life was cut short, so we didn’t get to really enjoy that much time with him,” said Natasha Smith. “But while he was here, he definitely made a huge impact on everybody that he came across.”
Smith said Ki’Aire’s smile was contagious.
“Anytime he walks in the room he would light up a room. He is so polite and sweet. Very smart for a 2-year-old,” said Smith.
The toddler was at home at the Hidden Lakes apartment in Kentwood when he got a hold of his mother’s ex-boyfriend’s gun that police say was in between a couch cushion. A probable cause affidavit shows that Ki’Aire shot himself in the head as Markus Nevill Jr. was high on marijuana. Ki’Aire leaves behind a 4-year-old brother.
“They are like two peas in a pod,” said Smith. “He is just all around a great kid.”
The family is still in shock from the tragic and sudden loss of a child to gun violence.
“His mother did have it for both of her children to be organ donors so that is one of the great things that he may be able to save somebody else’s life,” said Smith. “Right now, she is just in that shock moment where she still can’t believe this is true that he is gone.”
The impact Ki’Aire had will never be forgotten.
“Strangers that he feels a connection with, he is always going up to them hugging them. He always says please, thank you, very polite, he loved spider man. Just an all-around playful, smart, intelligent two year old,” said Smith.
Ki’Aire’s family wants to remind people to practice safe storage with their firearms.
“It’s not OK to leave any type of weapon out for any kid. Just if you do own one or have one in your possession, just lock it up. Life could have been … his life could have been saved if it was just locked up and not around him at all,” Smith said.
The suspect, Markus Nevills Jr., has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Nevills Jr. faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.
Ki’Aire’s family needs assistance with funeral efforts so they have created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for his funeral costs.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article contained an alternate spelling of Ki’Aire’s name. His mother confirmed the correct spelling is Ki’Aire.