KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — More than 100 people gathered in Kalamazoo Saturday evening to remember and mourn a mother and 4-year-old boy shot and killed by the boy’s own father who then killed himself.
Their prayers and support happened at the very spot where the shocking murder-suicide happened.
The crowd was addressed by family, friends and grandparents as they joined in the “Lord’s Prayer.”
They came to the home in the 100 E Emerson Street where the crime occurred.
Witnesses say 40-year-old Nicholas Mitchell and Julina Gibson were arguing about the custody of their 4-year-old son Nick around 6:20 a.m. on Thursday.
Police say the father used a gun to shoot 30-year-old Gibson, shot the boy, then turned the gun on himself. All three would die from those wounds.
The parents died right away and the boy died Thursday evening.
“We called her Tee-Tee Julina and baby Nicky was ‘Nino’ but I called him brother,” said Narnee Mitchell, the nephew and cousin of the victims. “She took care of mentally and physically disabled people and she loved doing that job. She was a loving and caring person.”
Gibson leaves another child behind.
“And definitely, I think it’s just a big community for the 10-year-old daughter that she left behind and we’re all gonna be here for her, so she has a big family,” Mitchell said.
Court records show that Mitchell spent time in prison on charges of carjacking and armed robbery in 2001 and released in 2008.
More recently, the parents were in court on custody disputes and there was a bench warrant out for Mitchell for failure to appear after he had fallen behind on child support payments.
People who knew the couple said they had their share of problems, but there was never any indication it would lead to this unthinkable act.
All the arrangements have not been made, but family members tell me there will be visitation on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Langland Funeral Home on South Burdick Street.
But because such a large crowd is expected to attend, they are looking for a venue large enough to host the funeral.