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He was learning how to crawl, then his life was cut short by strangers' gunfire

Kerri Gray said she wants to be able to forgive those who shot and killed her six-month-old son, Grayson, but first wants them all caught, convicted and imprisoned.

ATLANTA — The mother of six-month-old Grayson Fleming-Gray, Kerri Gray, said Wednesday night she is confident Atlanta police will soon capture everyone responsible for shooting and killing Grayson Monday afternoon amidst the gunfire that they meant for each other.

“I opened up the (car) door and I saw him slumped over and I thought he was sleeping, because he sleeps like that, sometimes,” Gray said, fighting back tears, recalling the moment she realized Grayson had been shot.

Kerri Gray is trying to forget what she saw. She tries to focus, instead, on Grayson as he was a few hours earlier, that morning at home, as captured in the video she shared with 11Alive—the last video she recorded of Grayson.

It shows the two of them on the floor at home, Grayson happily showing his mom how well he was learning to crawl—up, over and past her legs.

“Go ahead. You got it,” she says to Grayson on the video. As he makes it all the way across, she praises him, laughing, “There you go!”

But Grayson’s last moments that afternoon crowd into his mother’s mind over and over: how she was driving with Grayson in NW Atlanta near Anderson Park, where they'd been visiting a friend; Gray suddenly saw two cars zooming around her, and then she saw gunfire coming from at least one of the cars.

“I saw the gun. I saw the barrel of the gun come straight out of the backseat window” of one of the cars, she said, the passenger shooting toward the other car.

She stopped, trying to get out of the way, not knowing, at first, that one of the rounds had just pierced through the trunk of her car and into the backseat. She instinctively jumped out to check on Grayson, in his rear-facing car seat in the back.

“And I just, I happened to look down and saw the blood all over his clothes, so I quickly grabbed him out of his car seat, and I just held him and screamed for somebody to call 911.”

As Gray recalled it all, she would pause, trying to catch her breath. She remembers bystanders doing all they could to help, everyone trying to revive Grayson as the ambulance was on the way.

Gray said she now believes that the suspect just arrested--and the others who police say were involved, who, as of Wednesday night, were still on the run--didn’t mean to kill Grayson.

“It doesn’t matter if you meant to do it, or not,” Gray said. “I don’t want to hear that, ‘I didn’t intend to shoot your child.’ Your games that you’re playing... your behavior... ended a beautiful, beautiful soul. My son’s blood is on your hands. My son’s lifeless body is at your feet. You did this.”

She wishes she could understand the inexplicable, she wishes those responsible could give her answers.

“What could have been so important, what could have been so devastating in your life, that you felt that that was your only way out? Why couldn’t you be the bigger person, walk away?  Make better life choices. We cannot be your collateral damage because you decided that that was your only way out.” 

Gray said that, as an older, first-time mom, she had "a high-risk pregnancy and a difficult delivery." Doctors had to perform an emergency C-section. She and Grayson were hospitalized for four days. When they went home, Grayson weighed five pounds, but was healthy and doing well. 

She calls him her miracle baby, stolen from her.

“I feel that I need to learn forgiveness, in order for me to be able to move on, as best as possible, and right now that’s not going to happen. So as far as I’m concerned this very moment—an eye for an eye. But I know that that’s not the right way to handle this.”

She is angry and she is heartbroken and she weeps for her baby and for so many others in Atlanta and beyond who have been killed by stray rounds from rivals shooting at each other.

“This needs to stop.”

At the hospital Monday afternoon, doctors told her that Grayson could be an organ donor. And she agreed.

“And hopefully somebody else will be able to hold their baby this Christmas. To watch their baby grow up, because of Grayson. And at least I will know in the back of my head and in the bottom of my heart, on my hardest days, that, at some point, Grayson’s still out there.”