Family: South Richmond victim had brought son to see grandmother
Gathering at the family’s cramped Hillside Court home in South Richmond as funeral arrangements were being made, family members said Kelly never would have anticipated that there was danger at the East Roanoke Street home where she and her son were shot dead in a murder-suicide that took four lives. “There was no room for anger, only love,” said Kelly’s sister’s in-law, Liz Edwards, dismissing any idea that acrimony between the father of the child, the alleged shooter, and Kelly played a role in the deaths. Kelly and her son, Keytrell, were shot to death along with a close friend of Kelly’s who had arrived to provide a ride home. Edwards and other family members said the grandmother had asked to see her grandson before entering the hospital for major surgery scheduled for the next day, Thursday. Police say the alleged shooter, Traymont B. Burton, 21, the father of 2-year-old Keytrell, took his own life after shooting to death the other three. A neighbor said the grandmother of Keytrell arrived at her home to find the devastation. The grandmother, identified as Peggy Burton, has not been available for comment, and the home remained empty Saturday. Bank accounts, meanwhile, have been set up to help the survivors of the tragedy meet funeral expenses. Donations can be made to accounts at Wells Fargo branches in the name of Michelle and Keytrell Kelly and in the name of Adreena D. Gary, 19. Funeral arrangements and vigils are still being formalized, said evangelist Markeita Boyd, founder of Sisterhope Ministry Inc., which is trying to assist the families. Boyd spent nearly all night Wednesday praying with relatives as they arrived from as far away as Tidewater trying to learn what had befallen their loved ones. “This is going to take a long time, and it will be one day at a time,” Boyd said Saturday. “These people have never had to deal with a tragedy at this level. “But they have to stay together as a family, and they are going to get through it as a family.” Neighbors and Edwards said Traymont Burton had not played a significant role in his child’s life and remained largely confined to himself in the home where he lived with his mother. But Edwards and others stressed that there had not been a history of violence or serious acrimony between the couple, and that the grandmother oversaw visitation. Some family members had speculated late Wednesday that the rampage evolved from a custody dispute and that Gary may have lost her life trying to intervene. But Edwards and other family members said Gary, who was found shot to death outside the home, had simply arrived to provide a ride home for Michelle and her son when she was shot. “They were best friends,” Edwards said, as other family members described a normal day Wednesday in which Kelly had left her job as a health care provider, picked up her son at day care and come home to her apartment. Kelly’s sister, Tenisha, 19, described Kelly as a role model who kept a devoted eye on her and her daughter, Te’niya. “She wanted the two kids to grow up close. She wanted them to grow up brother and sister and to always be there for each other like we were.” “She saw us all standing strong and growing up together like a domino effect,” Tenisha said. Kelly, a 2011 graduate of George Wythe High School, had been taken under the wing of a group called Change the World RVA. Rescued from temporary homelessness with her young son, she got help in gaining a nursing certificate, housing and transportation assistance. Change the World board member Heidi Abbott took a picture of Kelly and Keytrell that is the centerpiece of a family tribute to mother and son adorning the walls of Kelly’s home. Some weeks ago, Abbott had posted on her Facebook page a picture of herself and her own daughter. Among the hundreds of “Likes” she received in response was one from Kelly. “She posted it just a short time before she was killed,” Abbott said. “The whole thing is just heartbreaking to all of us.”The mother gunned down with her 2-year-old son last week in South Richmond was on a mission of compassion for the child’s ailing grandmother, the family of Michelle Kelly said Saturday.