Two Boys Receive Punishment in Shooting Death of 11-Year-Old Cousin

By: Robert Borrelli
By: Robert Borrelli

Two boys heard their punishment Tuesday in the tragic shooting death of their 11-year-old cousin.

Aaliyah Joiner died last month after being shot in the head at her grandparents’ home in Elkhart.

The December 4th shooting that killed 11-year-old Joiner happened when the three children, all cousins, were playing with a loaded gun found at their grandparents Lusher Avenue home.

The 12-year-old changed his plea, admitting he fired the gun as he and Aaliyah played cops and robbers.

He'll face juvenile probation, 24-hour monitoring by his parents, and will be barred from his grandparents’ home.

However, the punishment for his 16-year-old cousin, who pulled the loaded gun from his grandparents’ drawer, is much more severe.

He will be in the state's juvenile system until he is 21.

Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, the boy has been in many fights, used marijuana and repeatedly violated probation in Georgia.

When juvenile authorities there ran out of options, the teen was sent to Elkhart to live with his grandparents.

In a three month period at Elkhart Memorial High School, he got in trouble on average of three-times a week.

James Lesure of the Church of Elkhart is related by marriage to the family and has been counseling them. He says of the 16-year-old, "He doesn’t have a bad heart, he loves people and it was a tragic accident. So, I just pray that he'll get with the program and get the help that he needs."

However, Aaliyah Joiner's mother Tiana sees things differently. "I don't know if there’s any type of rehabilitation for him,” she says. “From what they told me in court, he's still not doing anything to correct or improve anything concerning his self. I just really don't know about him."

But it's the matter of loaded guns in the home of grandparents James and Lucy Royal that's still being investigated by Child Protective Services.

“If you have guns not attended to, kids will get a hold of guns and we don't know what'll happen when they get a hold, but we know guns kill," said Lesure. "All on both sides have lost someone."

Joiner says, “I just wish everyone would take responsibility, you know, if you have a gun, lock it up. It's left in the Lord's hands, as they say."

In court Tuesday, it was noted that several loaded guns, including a shotgun, were found inside the home where Aaliyah Joiner was shot.

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