Family members, former teachers and other members of the community came out Sunday to say goodbye to 7-year-old Kevin Antonio Calderon Rodas and to comfort his mother and sister.
Kevin, who recently started second grade at the Military and Global Leadership Academy at Marie G. Davis, was fatally shot on Sept. 5 while at a birthday party on Fieldvale Drive.
On Sunday, his mother, Maria Rodas, kissed him and spoke to him through tears for an hour or more as friends and relatives stood beside her and hugged during a public visitation at Rosedale Funeral Parlor on Central Avenue.
A Teddy bear and other toys sat inside the gray casket. Children lay drawings against the white fabric covering the inside of the coffin as his mother continued talking to him.
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“He was very energetic,” said Rafael Nicolas, 17, a family member. “He loved to joke about everything. He loved playing Minecraft.”
Nora Campbell, Kevin’s kindergarten teacher, said he would stop in the hall to hug her every day. “He was very smart,” she said. “Very smart. And he was funny.”
The staff at Rosedale said they expected visitors to drop in throughout the day and into the night. About 25 people attended the service as it began, including three current and former teachers.
A private visitation for the family took place on Saturday. The burial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at Evergreen City Cemetery.
Kevin’s father on Thursday was denied a visa to travel into the United States from Mexico for the service, according to his sister, Yasmine Mulato of Charleston, S.C.
A separate service was scheduled Sunday at Saint Luke Missionary Baptist Church for Laquanta Franchez Young, 30, who was fatally shot the same day as Kevin. A man who lived in the house where Young was shot also was injured.
Candy rained down from a piñata onto a small front yard on Fieldvale Drive about 9 p.m. on Sept. 5 in the Springfield subdivision off Nation’s Ford Road. Children were scrambling for treats when several men suddenly opened fire.
When the shooting stopped, three people were injured, and Kevin was dead.
Police investigators are still trying to determine if the two shootings, about five blocks apart, were connected.
Kathleen Purvis also contributed
Karen Sullivan: 704-358-5532, @Sullivan_kms