Flint family seeks justice in deaths of 2 boys

Crystal Cooper, the mother of two boys who died in a Flint fire speaks about plans to file a...
Crystal Cooper, the mother of two boys who died in a Flint fire speaks about plans to file a complaint.(WNEM TV5)
Published: Nov. 5, 2022 at 11:24 AM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - A family is announcing legal proceedings after the deaths of their sons in a house fire in May.

9-year-old Lamar Mitchel and 12-year-old Zyaire Mitchell died from smoke inhalation when their home on West Pulaski Street in Flint caught fire. Their bodies were found after the house was given an all-clear by firefighters, a discovery that led to the resignation of one firefighter and the discipline of another.

“I think there should be two investigations launched: one to determine what happened in the house, and number two criminally what happened,” said Attorney Robert Kenner Jr., who is representing the family. “Why did they lie?”

The two boys had been missed during an initial search of the burning home.

“We will try to make sure that the mom and the father get the justice that they need,” said Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter.

Winfrey-Carter took up the matter during a special meeting Friday night.

Few showed up and no decisions were made. Attorney Robert Kenner announced Thursday the family plans to file a complaint, a prelude to a lawsuit, saying two firefighters falsified their report about that day.

The boys’ mother, Crystal Cooper, said she wants justice for her children and for no other family to experience this.

“I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Cooper said. “People uphold to their job that their assigned to do and I would hate for another family to go through this experience, this pain.”

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton tells TV-5 he told Cooper he will investigate whether criminal charges are called for. The family attorney says more investigation is needed.

“Hopefully folks will set aside politics and try to get to the truth of the matter as of number one; what happened when those firefighters went inside the home, did they do a search, and why did they falsify their statements, why did they allege that they did do what they didn’t do,” Kenner said.