Two pastors first to hear teen's confession to murder
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -
A teen admitted Thursday to killing his best friend on New Year's Day, telling police, pastors and community members it was an accident.
You may remember that this tragedy began early New Year's Day at a Flint home. Initial reports were an intruder shot 15-year-old Gianni Herron. But Thursday, the 16-year-old suspect made a public apology and explained his claim of what really happened.
"I'm sorry for shooting him, I didn't try to, it was an accident," said the teen suspect between gasps Thursday afternoon.
He confessed to being the one who shot and killed his 15-year-old best friend while playing around with guns. He claims it was an accident and came clean before turning himself in Thursday. Behind him were prominent Flint pastors, including his own pastor, Robert McCathern.
"He wanted to come clean in terms of his involvement and what happened, he was very remorseful," McCathern said.
The teen's confession was first heard by the man who knew him all too well - the man who baptized him.
"He didn't want to live with the situation so he contacted me, he and the family, and we talked about what was best," McCathern said.
The pastor said the teen told him he wanted to do the right thing. He then called his close friend, Pastor Jeff Hawkins, to sit in.
"We knew that we had to contact authorities. So I immediately called [Flint police Chief Alvern Lock], told chief what had happened," said Hawkins.
But before the suspect turned himself in, he made a plea to others in the city.
"Everybody should turn in their guns," the suspect said.
And on Thursday, both Hawkins and McCathern said seeing this young man step up is a small victory for this community.
"It's just one of those surreal days and it gives me hope that we're ready to move forward in the city," said McCathern.
"And when you try to make a difference and lead to positive change, you have to deal with whatever comes your way," said Hawkins.
Hawkins, who lost two of his sons to Flint violence, said this young man turning himself in for his wrongdoing is a small step in the right direction.
As far as the suspect's future, investigators are still trying to piece together some things in this case. For one, police found three guns in the basement where the two teens were, but they aren't releasing how the teens got the weapons. And as far as criminal charges, it's too early to say, but Genesee County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Potbury tells TV5 his office will review the evidence and reports and decide from there.
Copyright 2013 WNEM(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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