MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The casket carrying Kelby Shorty, a 7-year-old victim of gun violence, was pulled by a horse and carriage through the streets of North Memphis during a funeral procession Wednesday morning.
His mother, Kimberly Shorty, rode along with her son, saying she it was one final thing she could do.
“This gonna be our last ride together,” she said. “We used to ride all the time together, everyday, all day. I ain’t gonna see him no more, so here we go.”
Shorty was killed in a drive-by shooting on North Montgomery Street as children gathered to set off fireworks on the Fourth of July. Family said other children were able to run for cover, but Shorty’s foot was injured.
Two people are charged with first-degree murder in his death while a third is charged as an accessory after the fact.
Kelby’s mom said the horse and carriage was something her son would want.
“He used to always like animals and stuff like that, so I just felt like I am gonna get you an animal,” she said. “He used to like going to the zoo all the time, so I said I am gonna get you a horse. We can do that for the last time.”
So they rode past the school he attended, Vollentine Elementary, where students lined up with signs to show their love.
“We love you Kelby!” students shouted.
Kelby’s principal, Crystal Watts-Peterson, said it was a way his classmates could say goodbye to a little boy who loved learning and playing.
“The kids made signs. They all wore their shirts today and we just lined up as they were coming by in the procession,” Watts-Peterson said. “We just all waved at the procession and told his mom we love Kelby. We won’t ever forget him.”
The school gave the family a plaque in Kelby’s honor.
At the funeral, his casket was covered with pictures of his favorite game, Fortnite, and things he loved. The eulogy was on what Kelby was able to do in his young life.
“A 7-year-old brought this city together,” said the pastor at the funeral.
Family and friends hope Kelby’s death will make people realize it’s time to stop the killings.
“Stop the violence, period,” said Kelby’s aunt, Carla Jones. “Kelby’s mom don’t like violence. She is not an outside person. He wasn’t an outside person. Keep them in prayers. Stop the violence. Just stop it.”
Stevie Moore, an anti-violence advocate, said he hopes this death wakes up the community.
“I am tired of us being so quiet and looking for somebody else to solve our problems but us,” Moore said.
But from a mother burying a 7-year-old son, there was appreciation Wednesday for the support during a painful time.
“Thank y’all. ‘Cause I really need it. I really need it. Thank y’all,” said Kimberly Shorty.