by Carol Robinson, The Associated Press
A little boy killed in a hail of gunfire inside a west Birmingham apartment had a big laugh, a huge personality and a bright future, according to those closest to him.
“I told him all the time I thought he’d be president,’’ said the toddler’s godmother, Domonique Howard. “He did not deserve this. He was just an innocent baby who had so much ahead of him in his future.”
Major Turner, 2, was lying on the couch with his mother and another sibling Thursday night after they had finished eating dinner when someone opened fire outside their first-floor Kimbrough Homes unit. Major’s other two siblings were upstairs. Only Major and his mother were struck.
Neighbors reported hearing eight to 10 shots. There were at least 10 bullet holes in the window screens plus more in the apartment’s front door. It appears one or two bullets also struck the neighboring apartment, but no injuries were reported there.
Major was rushed to Children’s of Alabama where he was pronounced dead at 2:45 a.m. Friday. “Major Turner is a 2-yearold who was struck by a bullet last night and spent a lot of hours fighting for his life. He did not make it‚” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said Friday. “I think it’s time as a community we fight for justice for him.”
The shooting happened shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday in the Wenonah Community. Sgt. Rod Mauldin said police were notified of a double shooting in the 2900 block of John Bryant Road. They arrived to find the mother and Major wounded.
Police radio traffic indicated the child was struck in the neck and taken to Children’s of Alabama with critical injuries. His mother was treated for her injuries and has already been released from the hospital.
Howard said she received the call and rushed toward Major’s home but when she passed the ambulance on the way, she, her husband and her two adult children, turned around and headed for the hospital. She was able to spend time with Major, touching him and talking to him, before he died.
“I gave him a kiss and I rubbed his hair and I was telling him to open his eyes,” Howard said through tears. “I said, ‘Come back. Don’t leave.’ But he just laid there.’’
Howard said Major was outgoing and very smart. He loved Baby Shark and he loved to jump. “We took him to the jump park, and he loved it,” she said. “For Christmas I bought him a moonwalk, but he never got a chance to open it because we were waiting until summertime to get it out.”
Major, she said, never met a stranger. “If you met him, you’d think that you already knew him,” she said. “He was just so joyful. He always had a smile on his face.”
Howard took Major for a photo shoot for his second birthday. He thrived in front of the camera.
“Most kids you would have to make them do it, but he was ready,” she said. “He was just the cutest thing.”
Major called Howard Nique Nique, and her husband Paw Paw. “He always told me how much he loved me,” she said. “He meant so much to me.”
The mayor on Friday had harsh words for the killer or killers, calling them cowards and punks. He said he spoke with Howard and Major’s grandmother on Friday morning before he delivered his public comments about the case.
“What I can tell you that through their tears, through their pain, the family is grieving,” Woodfin said. “As a community we should be grieving as well. And as a community, we should not be numb to this.”
The mayor said he has seen the Birmingham community rally when innocent children are killed. “We’ve seen it with Journee, we’ve seen it with Cupcake, and we’ve seen it with so many others – the outrage and community support,” Woodfin said.
“Instead of pointing fingers, everyone rallies around some form of bring justice to the family,” he said. “Major’s family, and in his honor, deserve that same attention.”
A GoFundMe has been launched to help with Major’s burial. Donations can be made here. The Carlos Chaverst Foundation is offering a $500 reward for information in the case. Tipsters can call 205-259- 8879.
Anyone with information is asked to call Birmingham homicide detectives at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777. Crime Stoppers offers up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Tipsters to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous.