COMPLETE COVERAGE: Historic Tornado Outbreak
Woman shot in apartment

Family: 4-year-old who fatally shot self loved ‘smoochies’

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Family and friends gathered Sunday afternoon to celebrate the life of a four-year-old boy who died last week in Henrico County.

Family members said Demetrius Jefferson accidentally shot himself with a weapon that was inside the apartment where his family lives last week.

It happened at the White Oak Apartments along the 200 block of North Laburnum Avenue on Monday, May 7.

At last check, Henrico police officials said they are continuing to investigate the incident.

Demetrius

Demetrius' mother told reporters that she fell asleep and woke to find her son dead.

"I never thought something like this would ever...I'm still struck, I don't know," Tiara Rogers, the boy's mother, said last week.

Family spokesperson Ricky Johnson said Rogers has a mental health condition and wanted to warn other parents about gun safety.

"If you have guns make sure they're on safety, put it up where the child can't climb on a chair to get to it, have it up so they can't get to it," Rogers added.

The mother of Demetrius talks to the media on Tuesday, May 8.

The mother of Demetrius talks to the media on Tuesday, May 8.

Loved ones asked that people attending Sunday's vigil wear Jefferson's favorite colors: red, white and blue.

The colorful show of support was the kind of setting family members said the four-year-old who loves superheroes would have would have adored.

In fact, the group RVA Avengers showed as part of the community rallying around a grieving mother on a day that is supposed to mean celebration.

"Gone but never forgotten,” said Monique Rogers, Demetrius’ aunt. “You are our superhero. We have superheroes here to represent, but he's our true superhero."

Family members held onto the good "Mecho" brought during his four years of life.

His family said Demetrius was a jolly young man who was quick to pass out kisses and hugs.

"He used to say, ‘Smoochies!’ And I'd say, ‘Smoochies’ back to him,” family member Pat Childs said. “And I'd say, ‘I love you.’ And he'd say, ‘I love you, too, Ms. Pat.’ I'm going to miss him and I'm never going to forget him.”

Relatives also called on all families with kids to properly secure firearms.

"Just make sure you're putting your family in a safe situation," Rogers said.

A viewing will be held on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Love Cathedral Community Church on Oakland Avenue in Richmond.

Demetrius' funeral will take place at noon on Wednesday at Love Cathedral Community Church.

Both services are open to the public.