BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - “Not only am I grieving for my daughter, I am grieving for my grandson,” Royta Giles’ grandmother, Kesha Layfield, spoke to WBRC FOX6 Monday after losing the precious 8 year-old boy Friday, July 3.
Royta was killed during a shootout at the Riverchase Galleria, after Hoover Police say a group of men got into a verbal altercation near the food court.
Through heartbreak and tears, Layfield said the name Royta Giles Layfield will ring forever.
Layfield asked for all the suspects in the case to turn themselves in. She said, “What made you wake up that morning and want to destroy lives?”
“My grandbabies they laid there and watched their brother,” said Layfield.
When asked about Royta’s legacy his grandmother said “He wanted ya’ll to live. This is his party, he may not be here to witness it, but my baby....”
Royta’s mother stood by her own mother as she spoke, but understandably she was not able to speak Monday.
This is part of our interview with Royta’s grandmother:
The memorial service for 8-year-old Royta Giles well be held Wednesday, July 8 at 6:00 p.m. at Bessemer Recreation Center.
Royta’s funeral will be at Bessemer Civic Center Saturday, July 11 at noon.
During the argument Friday at the Riverchase Galleria, officers say a suspect, identified as 22-year-old Montez Moses Miracle Coleman, pulled a handgun out of a backpack and began shooting.
Several of the other males also had handguns and began returning fire. According to police, at least three different guns were fired.
Officers are looking for five other men.
“All we can say is thank God more people weren’t hurt because those bullets were flying through that mall. It’s incredible that more weren’t hurt,” said Hoover Police Chief Nicholas C. Derzis during a press conference.
Police say they believe no one involved in the initial argument was injured and all four of the victims harmed were innocent bystanders.
“A child died because people chose to settle a verbal argument by firing guns at each other in a crowded mall,” Chief Derzis said.
Also injured in the shooting was an adult male, an adult female and a juvenile female. Each was transported to local a hospital where they were treated and released the same night.
If you recognize any of the people pictured above, you’re asked to call Sergeant Matthew Savage at 205-739-6780. If you wish to remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward, you are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama at 205-254-7777.
The City of Hoover and IBERIABANK have established an account to support the family of Royta Giles, Jr. 100 percent of the funds collected will go toward direct support for Royta’s family’s future needs.
“Our entire community is devastated at the senseless and untimely loss of this little boy,” says Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato. “We can’t bring Royta back, but we can bring love and support to his family. The people of Hoover have always been generous in times of need and I know this will be no exception.”
In a statement, IBERIABANK spokesperson Monica Drake says, “The IBERIABANK team is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Royta Giles. In partnership with the City of Hoover, IBERIABANK will house a benefit account and make a financial donation to help the Giles’ family during this difficult time. Donations can be made at any of IBERIABANK’s eight branch locations.”
In addition to visiting any IBERIABANK branch location, contributions can be made by Venmo to @forRoyta or by PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.