Mourners lit candles, strung balloons around a street sign and left teddy bears at a makeshift memorial to 12-year-old Quintae Cooper, who died Sunday in a drive-by shooting while he played with friends on Saginaw's Southeast Side.
More than 100 people -- infants held in arms, a few adults and children in tears -- gathered Monday at Livingston and Tausend, where gunfire ended the life of the Webber Middle School seventh-grader.
Michael Hollenbeck | The Saginaw NewsShonquonette McKether, right, watches as Shermein Cooper, 10, and Quinae Cooper, 12, light candles at the corner of Tausend and Livingston during a candlelight vigil Quintae Cooper. Quintae Cooper, 12, was shot and killed on the corner by a drive-by shooter Sunday. McKether is the children's mother. Quinae is Quintae's twin sister. Shermein is Quintae's younger brother.
They held hands, prayed and reflected, and meant their demonstration as a message: They would not bow to fear during the latest outbreak of shootings that has befallen Saginaw. Cooper died after the first of two drive-by fatal shootings within six hours Sunday. Bullets had injured three others by mid-morning Monday.
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As of this morning night, city police had not arrested any suspects.
"This is a troublesome time," the Rev. Ernest Bothuel, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, said to the crowd as it held hands and prayed.
"Quintae was a special kid to me, and I just think this was senseless," said Melba Baldwin, the boy's math teacher, as she held her nearly 2-year-old daughter, Nia. "He was a good kid."
Baldwin lives in the neighborhood of neatly kept homes.
Friends and family said the victim was happy and enjoyed watching professional wrestling and playing basketball.
"He was quiet and sweet," said Bianca Lawson, 14, the daughter of a LaTonya Tyler and Garfield Lawson of Saginaw.
Michael Hollenbeck | The Saginaw NewsArea residents pray at the corner of Tausend and Livingston during a candlelight vigil for Quintae Cooper. Cooper, 12, was shot and killed on the corner by a drive-by shooter.
Cooper died from a gunshot wound in his back about 6 p.m. Sunday. Witnesses said someone fired at least four shots from a car into a gathering of 15 children ranging in age from 3 to 14.
Vehicle descriptions varied.
By Monday, the news of Cooper's death reached many of Lawson's young friends at school. She is an eighth-grader at Webber.
"At first they took it hard, but they are dealing with it," she said.
Cooper lived with his grandparents, Fredrick and Linda McKether, his twin sister, Quinae, and younger brother, Shermein.
Robert B. Conner IV, 27, said he handles the loss of his nephew by remembering God is in control.
"It may be a wake-up call to other little guys in the neighborhood," the Saginaw man said. He preached against vengeance but added, "we have to do what we have to do to make sure this doesn't happen again."
Cooper "was just beginning to live," Conner said, "but he didn't have a chance to."