BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Teachers and classmates are grieving the loss of 13-year-old middle school student Jaylon Palmore, who was killed in a weekend shooting.
Birmingham Police said Palmore was on a porch at an East Lake home when shots were fired from two vehicles Saturday afternoon.
“This young man was just on the front porch of his house. Total innocent victim. Had his whole life ahead of him. Some vehicles came by, shooting,” said BPD Chief Scott Thurmond.
Thurmond said BPD detectives were following up Monday. Investigators haven’t released details on a motive. He said neighbors have not shared many details with police so far.
“We can ask and ask and ask, but if the community is not willing to share that information with us to solve our cases, as heinous as this is with a 13-year-old young man, it is just very difficult, very troubling for us,” said Thurmond.
Palmore was in the 8th grade at Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School.
“It was extremely hard for me to see him not come in today, see him not smile, see him not come up to me and try to dap me up or shake my hand,” said Shelton Bowens, a science teacher who had Palmore in one of his classes.
Bowens said it was an emotional weekend after hearing the news of Palmore’s death. The science teacher has never lost a student.
“When I got the news it hit me really hard so I tried to make sure I got pretty much all my tears out, any frustrations, any anger prior to coming in to the school building today, but this weekend was pretty rough getting that news about a student who I had the opportunity to build a relationship with,” said Bowens.
Classmates described Palmore as quiet, but said he was the kind of person everyone liked.
“He loved talking about sports and Fortnite and video games and stuff like that and we bonded because we used to do projects together. We did a black history project together this year,” said Rodrell Cook, a friend.
So far in 2022, a total of 7 Birmingham City School students have been killed in incidents of violence.
“Even a student like Jaylon is not protected from violence in the community. You can be the best kid and something will still happen and I just want him to be remembered as a kid who was doing what a 13-year-old kid does. He was sitting outside on the porch. He was playing, he was doing whatever trying to mind his own business and tragedy struck,” said Rameka Davis, Ozzie Ware Mitchell Middle School Principal.
Grief counselors from BCS were on hand at the middle school Monday. Teachers said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin also stopped by to visit after the tragedy.
“We just wanted to make sure that Jaylon’s family knows how much we will miss him, how much he was loved and liked and Ossie Ware and it is just really heartbreaking for us all,” said Davis.
The shooting took place in Birmingham’s East Lake neighborhood, which is in Birmingham City Council District 5.
District 5 City Councilor O’Quinn said the news of another young person’s death hits hard.
“There’s far too much of this that is happening in the community,” O’Quinn continued. “It’s especially saddening when it involves a person who hasn’t really begun to live their life yet.”
O’Quinn said the city continues to focus on conflict resolution efforts. He noted a recently approved partnership with the Jefferson County Department of Health for violence intervention.
“In these types of incidents, we’d have members of our community and people who were trained to interract with the victims and people who are surrounding the situation to try and prevent further incidents from happening,” said O’Quinn.
Birmingham Police officers are asking anyone with information to call investigators. You can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 205.254.7777.