Community remembers 8-year-old boy who had big dreams

Memorial for Royta Giles

BESSEMER, Ala. (WBRC) - A family and a community are mourning the loss of Royta Giles, who shot and killed while standing with his mom at Riverchase Galleria on Friday.

The 8-year-old boy had dreams of becoming a rapper. His family posted videos of him on social media.

“Best rapper there is in the city. Can’t nobody take that from him,” his dad Royta Giles, Sr. said.

Royta would have been a third grader at Jonesboro Elementary, where he excelled in school. His family says he always had a big smile on his face and big dreams.

“Just loved by everybody - loved by everybody,” said Tabather Giles, Royta’s grandmother.

His family says it’s been more than difficult not having him around. Royta Sr. says there’s been “hurt” and “a lot of pain.”

That emotion could be felt at a memorial for Royta outside the Bessemer Recreation Center on Wednesday. Dozens of people showed up to show their support for his family. Local lawmakers and both district attorneys spoke at the event saying justice will come to the family.

“I’m here to tell you that we’re going to do all that we can as an office to make sure that justice is served,” Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr said.

The community also released balloons as they wrapped their arms around a family that’s dealing with the unspeakable loss of a little boy who had big dreams.

“Just 8 years old with so much potential, so much love, so much family to love him - and he was stuffed out,” said Lynneice Washington, Jefferson County District Attorney for the Bessemer Cutoff.

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