BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A Battle Creek family is mourning after 2-year-old Kai Turner was killed in a drive-by shooting a week ago.
On the morning of Sept. 20, Diana Walton received a heartbreaking phone call.
“It’s your grandson,” she recalls being told. “He’s not going to make it.”
Her grandson was in the hospital after being hit by gunfire. Police say three teenagers were inside the SUV that fired shots into the house Kai was in on Cliff Street near Douglas Street in Battle Creek.
“I gathered my keys and my driver’s license, wallet and left without even locking my house. And drove there at about 90 miles an hour,” Walton said. “I walked into the room — and there he was.”
Kai was on life support. His grandmother is grateful she was able to be there for his final moments.
“His heart was still beating and I got to lay my head on his heart. I got to kiss every little bit of skin that was showing and his hands. I got to hold his hands,” she said. “When it was time to release Kai, I was able to hold his body for over an hour and rock him.”
The 2-year-old’s life made an astronomical impact on their lives, even in the day-to-day.
“Everything here was OK. It was like the whole world was grounded when he was here … because it brings you back to the simple things. Good food, comfort, warmth, home, outside, walks, playing with water in the sink and blowing up balloons,” Walton said.
His family says the toddler was also an old soul with a whimsical sense of humor. He had a fascination with the outdoors and loved playing outside all day.
“The window to the back (of my house), he could see our park. … First thing in the morning, (he’d) throw back that curtain. ‘The park,’ (he’d say),” Leesha Fagan, a grandmother figure to Kai, recalls. “We’d just scan everything we could see from up there, and he’d see, ‘Truck, truck, truck. Bus, grandpa, bus.'”
Two people were formally charged on Monday. A third person is still waiting to be arraigned.
To the suspects allegedly responsible, Walton said the family is sorry their life led to that horrific moment.
“I’m not going to go and condemn them to hell, because they’re already in hell,” she said.
While Kai’s loved ones know he is no longer with them, they say he will be in their hearts and minds forever.
“Never take for granted anyone in your life, that they’re going to be there tomorrow. Because life can take any of us at any time and none of us know when our time is, or when our friend’s or family’s time are,” Walton said. “It’s important to love people as much as you can.”
— News 8’s Madalyn Buursma contributed to this report.
— Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the date the shooting happened. We regret the error, which has been fixed.