On Friday at Park Elementary School, Jahiem Holliday had announced that he wanted to be a teacher when he grew up. So his own first grade teacher asked their class if they wanted Jahiem to take on some of the teaching duties on Monday.
"They said, 'Yea,'" Jahiem's mom, Leteisha Holliday, said through tears on Saturday. "He was a class clown."
But Jahiem would never make it back to his first grade classroom — as teacher or student. In a tragic act of gun violence involving children, the 6-year-old was fatally shot in his Northdale neighborhood Friday afternoon while playing outside with his siblings and neighbors. He died just yards from his family's home, his mom said.
"His life was just beginning. Six years old, just going outside a normal day to play," said neighbor Kimberly Carter, who knew Jahiem and his family well. “It’s just a hard pill to swallow."
Baton Rouge Police arrested a 13-year-old boy on Saturday in Jahiem's killing. Jahiem was shot a little before 5 p.m. Friday to the 1700 block of Madison Avenue, just north of Memorial Stadium, Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola Jr. said.
Coppola said the 13-year-old boy was booked into the parish's juvenile detention center on a count of second-degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm by a juvenile. He is the 10th juvenile arrested this year for a homicide in East Baton Rouge Parish. In 2017, only one juvenile was accused of murder, even as a record number of homicides plagued the parish, according to records maintained by The Advocate.
The motive of the shooting remains under investigation as do other details of the incident.
Carter said her two children initially called 911 after the shooting, and said they knew the child who was arrested in the killing.
"You gotta pray for both of the families, they’re both going through a loss," Carter said. "It shouldn't have happened like that. It's just too much. ... I didn't sleep, my babies didn't sleep, it's just a lot."
Holliday and her family said they do not believe the shooting was an accident. They gathered Saturday afternoon, sharing videos and photos of Jahiem — their 'baby-baby,' — remembering him as a little kid with a big personality.
"He was outspoken," Holliday said, smiling. "He thought he was the oldest child."
Jahiem, however, was the second youngest of five. Last weekend, the family went to the State Fair where Jaheim wouldn't stop dancing, even as they just stood in line for tickets.
"He loved to dance, anywhere he went, whether they had music or not," Holliday said. "He was fun, he was loving, caring, full of life. He was not a problem child."
Holliday said their family attended church regularly and were glad that Jahiem knew God.
“He’s a sweetheart," Carter said. "I’ll call him my brown-eyed angel now. He was a rough-and-tough, but he was a sweetheart.”
Carter said she had taken Jahiem and his siblings along with her children to the trick-or-treating event hosted by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office on Halloween Night. She said Jahiem's family have become her adopted family.
“We had a good time, and I would have never, ever thought a couple of day later, that baby would be gone," Carter said. "It's just heartbreaking. ... We just have to come together and put God first. We just have to come together —for the kids.