TOWNVILLE, S.C. – Townspeople and classmates filled a church Tuesday evening to say goodbye to a 6-year-old boy who died in a school shooting, filing past a casket adorned with large photos, balloons and a life-size figure of one of his favorite superheroes, Batman.
Authorities say a teen shot at a back door of the Townville Elementary school last Wednesday as a class left for recess, hitting Jacob, a classmate and a first-grade teacher. The teacher, shot in the shoulder, and the student, shot in the foot, were treated at hospitals and released the day of the shooting. Jacob died on Saturday.
News that a third student had been injured came Monday night in a news release issued by Solicitor Chrissy Adams. That student, who was on the playground during the shooting, did not need medical attention, Anderson County Sheriff's Lt. Sheila Cole said Tuesday. Because of the student's injuries, however, Adams lodged another charge of attempted murder against the teen, who is 14.
The teen now faces two murder charges: for Jacob's death and that of the teen's father, whom police say he fatally shot before driving to the school. He faces three attempted-murder charges in connection to the survivors. The teen is charged as a juvenile, and Adams has not said whether she will seek to try him as an adult. The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.
Jacob's relatives said a favorite superhero was Batman and that he himself told them he was out saving Townville while everyone slept.
They invited visitors to attend the visitation wearing superhero costumes, and both children and adults obliged. At least one visitor came dressed in a full-size Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume, while others wore T-shirts with the Superman and Batman logos, and placed Ninja turtle toys beside the casket, the inside of which reads "God's Super Hero." Some family members wore blue T-shirts with Jacob's photo on the front and "Team Jacob" printed on the back.
The funeral is 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church, which can hold about 500 people. Church leaders say a gym and youth building can accommodate several hundred more.
"Until we stand before God, we will not know why he was taken from us," his great-aunt, Rebecca Hunnicutt, told the Anderson Independent Mail. "But I have to believe that Jacob's life will send a message about how important it is to love and protect our children, whether they are white, black, green, Hispanic or Asian. Now, Jacob isn't just saving Townville. He's doing things for the world."