The tree of liberty has once again been watered with the blood of the innocent; this time, it was the blood of 8-year-old Grayden Lee Whitmore and his mother, 27-year-old Melissa Ball. Both were shot by Ball’s estranged husband and Grayden’s father, who then turned the gun on himself.
The shooting happened at a rest stop in Varnell, Georgia, just before 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Georgia, you may recall, is the “Guns Everywhere” state.
Melissa Ball pulled her car into the combination gas station and McDonald’s, and her husband, 36 year old Christopher Whitmore, pulled up behind her. Police say that the Melissa’s son was sitting in the back seat of her car when his father pulled a handgun and shot the boy at close range.
Whitmore immediately shot Ball, and then himself. All three died as a result; the Whitfield County Sheriff, Scott Chitwood, said that the shooting was in the process of being investigated as a murder-suicide.
Police suggest that the couple had a long history of domestic issues and were separated, but it’s not clear what transpired in the lead-up to the shooting, if anything at all.
Mandi Ball, Melissa’s sister, told WRCB-TV that, “She was a very good person, a good mother. She took care of her son and that’s all she worried about. They would do anything to help anybody. Even him at 8 years old would stress out and have anxiety attacks from worrying about other people.”
Grayden was a second-grader at the Beaverdale Elementary School; principal Cheri Mahan said in a statement: “We care deeply about every child and we lost a member of our family,” and “Our counselors at the school are committed to helping our students and staff work through this tragedy.”
Watch the report below: