Three teenagers were charged Thursday with shooting and killing a 6-year-old boy who was asleep in the back seat of his mother's car they'd stolen in Jackson, Mississippi.
Ebony Archie left her son, Kingston Frazier, asleep in a running Toyota Camry while she stepped into a Kroger grocery store not long after midnight on Thursday, law enforcement authorities said. In the time she was away, a silver Honda Civic pulled up and someone took the car with the boy still in the back seat.
Archie told a police officer, who began filing a report on the auto theft and who initially did not realize a child had also been taken. Once the officer learned of the kidnapping, highway patrol issued an Amber Alert at 4:15 a.m., stating that Kingston was 3 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 40 pounds, and had brown eyes. He had last been seen wearing a white tank top, khaki pants, and black and gold Jordan tennis shoes.
Officials and family members pleaded with the kidnappers to return the boy.
“We’re just asking, regardless of who you are, what you are, and where you are, if you could just return the child,” David Archie, Kingston's uncle, told the Clarion-Ledger. “Leave him somewhere, find a way to get him to a store, to a gas station, to a restaurant, Walmart, anywhere people are and just drop him off.”
Around 9:30 a.m., authorities found the vehicle abandoned on a dirt road in Gluckstadt, Mississippi, in rural Madison County, with Kingston dead of a gunshot wound in the back seat, authorities said at a news conference. They had acted on a tip from a local resident.
"Our hearts go out to the families," Hinds County Sheriff's Department Major Pete Luke said at a press conference — then, Kingston's father arrived, who hadn't yet learned of his son's death.
"Where's my son, man? I've been waiting nine hours to hear anything. I ain't heard shit about my son all day," Kingston's father said. "Man, I know he ain't right. If something's wrong, let me know right here."
When he learned of the shooting, he walked away, repeating, "My son's dead, man. They killed my son, man. They shot my son."
Ebony Archie, the boy's mother, collapsed when she was told at the district attorney's office that her son was dead. “I told y’all that shit wasn’t right, I told y’all," she said between sobs, the Clarion-Ledger reported.
Police arrested three suspects on Thursday night — Dwan Wakefield, D’Allen Washington, and Byron McBride — all 17 years old. The three were charged with capital murder and are being held without bail. The crime would be punishable by death, but a 2005 Supreme Court decision eliminated the death penalty for juveniles.
"There are no words to express the anger and sadness over the loss of Kingston Frazier," wrote Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant in a statement posted to Facebook Thursday. "The innocence and life of a six-year-old child have been taken by a horrific crime. It is time this senseless violence end[s]. We can all pray that God will assuage the pain of Kingston's family and friends, while we hold the guilty accountable."
On Friday, former classmates and other marched outside Kingston's school. Kimberly Smith, the principal of North Jackson Elementary School, told local media he was "a sweet child to be around" and "everybody's baby."
Kingston would have graduated from kindergarten on Friday.
Hinds County Sheriff's Department Major Pete Luke spoke at a Thursday press conference on the murder. An earlier version of this post misstated his name.