Cousin of 12-year-old boy killed in Portsmouth shooting speaks out


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — On Friday, Dec. 21, while parents were likely making last minute holiday preparations, children played in the street on Lexington Avenue in Portsmouth.

Gunshots were fired just after 11 a.m., and a 12-year-old boy was hit. The child was taken to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, where he died on Saturday.

His family has identified him as Kemon Battle.

Battle’s cousin, De’Andre Barnes, spoke to 10 On Your Side. “When a 12-year-old kid dies, there’s no book on that. You know everybody’s hurt,” he said. 

Barnes posted a photo on social media showing his young cousin battling for his life at CHKD. He says he posted the photo to shed light on what it’s like to grow up in that neighborhood.

“It’s hard growing up out here,” said Barnes. “It’s very hard, and these kids face a lot of different difficulties every single day. The kids, after that happened and he got shot, there was kids still outside playing in the same spot … and that’s because that’s normal to them. This is what they see.”

Barnes understands the experience of children here, because this is where he grew up. 

The same day his young cousin died, Barnes was sworn in as the newest member of the Portsmouth School Board. He says the community has to step up for these kids. 

“I just really want our city to really look into investing in our children,” Barnes said. “When it comes to schools, we need to invest more into our schools. We need to invest into programs, nonprofit organizations where they have their stuff together and they are doing things for our kids.

“If we don’t pay for them now, we’re going to pay for them later when they getting in trouble or getting shot and things of that nature,” he said.

Police have not yet identified any suspects in the deadly shooting. Anyone with information on this shooting is encouraged to contact the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

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