Family of teen killed in shooting: ‘God needed him for something’

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A Tuscaloosa family will never be the same again after 13-year-old Kei’lan Allen died in his West Tuscaloosa bedroom Friday, killed by bullets police say were for someone else.

Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit investigators arrested three suspects in Kei’lan’s death Sunday evening and Monday. They are 18-year-old James Deanthony Reed, 21-year-old Julian Lamont Gordon Jr. and 19-year-old Jaden Zaire Jenkins. All three are charged with capital murder, meaning they have no bond.

Investigators said they believed the intended target was an older family member.

Kei’lan’s grandmother, Georgia Black, said the family is devastated that they’ll never see him grow up and be the generous, loving man he was meant to be. But there’s a reason for everything, she said.

“I know where my baby is,” Black said. “My baby went back to where he came from. God needed him for something. He was too good for this earth.”

Black did not hide her tears as she recalled the life Kei’lan lived. He was an amazing big brother, a loving son and grandson, and a brilliant child destined for great things.

“The school would text his mother and say whatever you’re doing, keep it up because you have a good child,” Black said.

Kei’lan was big brother to three sisters. On Monday, the family set up a table full of pictures and memorabilia of Kei’lan at Black’s home, shared memories and supported one another.

Black said she’s glad investigators worked swiftly in finding those responsible, but she can’t help but pray for the suspects and their families, too.

“I really do feel sorry for these children’s parents,” she said. “They’re losing a child just like I lost a child. One of those boys who got arrested had tears in his eyes because he knew he was wrong. My heart breaks for him.”

Arrangements for Kei’lan’s funeral have not yet been made.

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