Victim’s family pushing DA’s office to show mercy to 13-year-old school shooter

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Forgiveness and healing. That’s the message from the family of the 13-year-old who was shot at Cummings K-8 School last Thursday.

Remorseful and tearful. That’s how a lawyer described the 13-year-old accused of pulling the trigger.

The victim’s family and the accused shooter’s family met at Shelby County Schools headquarters Tuesday night to pray. The meeting was all about reconciliation and moving forward.

Attorney Blake Ballin was at the meeting. He said it’s a unique case because the victim’s family is pushing for the district attorney’s office to forgive and show the 13-year-old shooter mercy.

“The father of the alleged victim has been very outspoken about reconciliation, forgiveness, mercy,” Ballin told FOX13.

Right now, he’s charged with attempted first-degree murder.

A photo shared by Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray on Twitter showed the victim and shooter’s family praying together for reconciliation and forgiveness.

Dr. Ray helped arrange the meeting and said it was overwhelming because both of the families talked about reconciliation. He said at the end of the day both teenagers are students who make mistakes.

“The most powerful moment was when of course we all joined hands and said. A quick prayer for both students and said it for healing for our entire city,” the superintendent told FOX13.

Last week, Memphis police arrested the 13-year-old for first-degree murder after officers said he shot a classmate in a stairway at Cummings K-8 School.

Ballin said he hasn’t seen all the video evidence or reports but wants to emphasize that his client has no prior criminal history.

He said at the end of the day, the goal is to get the young man help.

“This child is not like that at all. He is a kind, sweet, otherwise normal 13-year-old. He was tearful in my conversation with him, remorseful. He was concerned about this other student,” Ballin said.

FOX13 spoke to the victim’s father on Tuesday. He said his son is back in school.

RELATED: Father of student shot inside Cummings K-8 School wants to help teen who shot his son

He said children are a gift from God and he wants all the kids to get the help they need.

Ballin agrees.

“I just think there is something more going on here and something needs to be addressed outside a criminal justice setting,” Ballin said. “It needs to be dealt with in a community setting. It needs to be dealt with in a rehabilitative setting.”

Both Ballin and Dr. Ray believe the families are calling for forgiveness because they have lost loved ones to gun violence in the past.

Ballin says his goal is to get the child help he needs no matter what.

“He is going through a rough time. Detention, in my opinion, is doing more harm than good for this child,” he said.

FOX13 contacted the district attorney’s office about the case and the victim’s family’s push for forgiveness.

A spokesperson said it’s a pending case that will be resolved in court.

The first court date is Oct. 12 at 9 a.m.