A 13-year-old Black boy was shot dead by his 75-year-old White next door neighbor, John Henry Spooner, after falsely being accused of breaking into the shooter’s home and stealing guns, WDJT-TV, CBS-58 in Milwaukee reports. Spooner has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and his bond is set at $300,000.
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The victim, Darius Simmons, was taking out the trash on Thursday when he was shot. His mother, Patricia Larry, saw the entire incident. Spooner reportedly confronted the teen as he took out the trash and asked if he had stolen some of his guns. The boy, who held his hands up, said he didn’t have anything.
Spooner then shot the boy. When Darius turned to run, Spooner shot him in the back. The boy died of his injuries hours later. He was unarmed.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Spooner has confessed to shooting Darius, even as he held his hands up and ran away.
Spooner had complained to a neighborhood alderman about his home being broken into during the past week, but Darius was in school during the break-in Spooner was referring to, according to the boy’s aunt, Betty McCuiston.
“He was gunned down for something he did not do,” she told the Journal-Sentinel.
McCuiston also said the boy and his mother moved into the neighborhood, ironically, because they felt it would be safer.
McCuiston said her sister moved to the neighborhood on May 1 from the north side because she wanted something quieter and safer than her old neighborhood.
Darius talked about going to Milwaukee Tech high school, said Clark, the teacher.
“He was determined to get a good education,” she said, noting that he often rode his bike more than seven miles each way to go to school.
“Once he had me watch him on the playground to show me how far he could throw a football,” she said, smiling.
Some of Darius’ school friends decorated a wooden cross with stuffed animals and planted it on the front step where Darius was shot during a vigil on Saturday.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “Spooner was arraigned in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Saturday morning, where he was told that he is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon.”
The boy’s aunt Betty says the whole situation was senseless, “I don’t think God designed for a Mother to bury her 13-year-old son,” she said.