A 4-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet during a late night New Year's Eve church service in Decatur, GA -- a suburb of Atlanta.

Lloyd Phipps, senior pastor at the Church of God of Prophecy near Decatur, told the AJC that Marquel Roberts was sitting beside his mother playing a hand held video game while waiting for a live concert to begin at 12:30 a.m.

"We heard a loud pop, which we now assume was when the bullet came through the roof," Phipps said.

Pastor Phipps said the child fell to the floor and at first seemed unconscious before awakening and crying. Members of the congregation prayed over the boy and then returned to watching the concert while an ambulance raced Marquel to a local hospital where he later died.

Church members were still enjoying the concert at 3:30 a.m. when they learned of the boys death. DeKalb police investigators returned to the church the next day and found the bullet's point of entry in the roof. Police believe someone fired a celebratory shot in the air and it fell through the roof on its way back down. They have no suspects.

"It's one of those things that you just cannot make any sense out of," Phipps said. "This lady took her kid to church, which is the right thing to do. And her son got killed because of someone’s irresponsible behavior."


  • http://facebook.com/renz.renegadesince1985 renegadesince1985

    So sad...that's what happens though..idiots fire guns in the air thinking they're not doing any harm...what goes up has to come down. SMH...what a cutie pie he was.

  • nicolejordan81

    :newbie: Incredibly sad.......surprisingly so I recently made myself aware of this only just a few years ago--the celebratory bullets have to fall somewhere!! Its awful that this is never thought of! :(

  • mrsgarcia703

    Things like this really get under my skin! My heart is broken just thinking of his mom right now smh. RIP Marquel.

  • http://myspace.com/necee518 yvonne79

    Morning everyone....Happy New Year!!!

    It's truly unfortunate this incident occurred. Not sure what I would do if something like this happened to someone in my family. My prayers are with the family as they mourn.

  • gypsyeyes

    This is a truly sad story.I don't know if you remember a similar incident like this a couple years back in Decatur. The grandfather shot the rifle up in the air for NYE and the bullet came down and killed his 17 year old grandson. When will the lesson be learned.My heart breaks for his mom.He was definitely a cutie pie.

  • kwall

    hey all. happy new year to you too @yvonne.

    man this is so SAD.

    am i the only one who gave a side eye to "and then returned to watching the concert"?? WHAT?!

    all of that aside may this baby RIP.

  • msnicole

    I can't believe this happened in church. This is so sad. Praying for strength for his family.

  • SoulWithSass


    I thought the SAMMEEE thing. Somebody gets shot in the church, and the concert is not immediately HALTED? What the hell?

    If somebody gets shot while I'm in church, I consider that a sign from God..... I'm going home.

  • msnicole

    @ kwall .. No you aren't the only one. I find that very odd to go back to enjoying a concert while one of your church members has fallen sick. I couldn't do it.

  • SoulWithSass

    But RIP to the young baby. I don't know why people still fail to grasp the most basic law of physics...."what goes up, MUST come down."

    I hope they find the idiot who fired the "celebratory" shot that ended in mourning.

  • gypsyeyes

    Kwall- I was thinking the same thing. How do you commence to enjoying a concert when something like this happens. Wouldn't you run to a church members side? I can see if the were just in church praying for him.I guess...

  • Leesa

    Stuff like this grinds my gears.

    You can't even go to church without getting hurt. No where in this world is safe.

  • CivilEngineer

    This is :sad: My heart goes out to the family.

    And no @Kwall you're not alone! I think in most churches if someone (especially a child) gets shot services cease but maybe that's just in La :shrugs:


    this is soo sad !......PEOPLE WE HAVE TO WAKE UP! :(

  • FloridaChick813

    This is very sad!!!! I pray for his family..

    @ Kwall -- My thoughts exactly!!

  • http://twitter.com/LaydeeJustice LadyJustice *\o/*

    this happens almost every year. ppl need to stop shooting guns in the air. PERIOD

  • MrzzSmitty

    That is so terrible, My prayers are with his family.

  • khandi25

    This is so horrible... My prayers are with the family..

  • MrzzSmitty

    Upset with myself for feeling like I was missing out by not celebrating New years out and about.

  • free

    they were poppin off what sounded like fully automatic weapons in my neighborhood. it went on for some time, so much so that i thought about chris rock and his joke about increasing the price of bullets. it got downright scary at one point because it was definitely more than 2 or 3 of them and one or two with a regular single shot pistol.

  • Shauny

    First of all my heart goes out to this young boys family, so sad and senseless. I'm so glad that I don't live anywhere near people who pop off celebratory shots anymore because I use to be on the floor and away from windows for YEARS on NYE. RIP angel

    Kwall - as I'm reading the story I couldn't even keep attention to the rest of the story once I read that "the members prayed over him then returned to watching the concert" so I was OUTDONE when the next sentence I read was the concert kept going on at 3:30. I hope Sandra is adding her little umph to this story because if not the congregation gets a side eye from me.

  • Daisy

    Sandra didn't add to the story services continued per the local paper

  • FloridaChick813

    @ Free -- Same thing in my neighborhood... Then there was a few youngins settin off fireworks.. I was wandering what kinda parents would let their young children play with fireworks, but who am I to judge :shrugs:

  • Shauny

    Seriously Daisy? That just seems odd to me. I would expect those people to have been at the hospital praying for the well being of the baby. Alrighty then

  • cheeks8683

    Wow....thru the roof tho? Stuff like this makes you wonder why? They were in church and a random bullet on its way down hits the kid...just wow!!!

  • http://talkingwithtami.com/blog talkingwithtami

    omg I hate to hear stories like this about kids,my heart goes out to his family.May he rest in peace.

  • Quitta

    This is so sad. My condolences goes out to this family. At the church though? I don't understand pple. Why bring in a new year this way? Same sh*t different year I tell ya. Pple ain't sh*t sometimes.

    Good morning all.

  • mirsmommy

    :-o Who in the hell is bustin off shots in the air on the roof of the church??????? And for the people to go back and continue watchin the show??? :blink:

    May this baby RIP, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family. :sad:

  • starr

    This is just a sad story. RIP lil one....u not even safe in church these days. smh

    Now....as sad as this story is i can't get over em just continuing back to the concert...i'm baffled...

  • aries

    There is another story on gg about a nine year old boy. The little boy was stab to death over a video game by a 25 year old man. This is sad to little boys life took for no reason.

  • terika83

    You know...that tics me off it's SUCH a stupid act of celebration like why not just stick to firecrackers? And people think I'm crazy for hitting the floor at 11:50. What goes up MUST come down...idiots. GOD bless his soul.

  • GSUDiva97

    >:( I have a 2 yr old. This just saddens my ?!!! You are not safe anywhere anymore, not even in the Lord's house. RIP Marquel!!! He was a cutie pie....

  • GSUDiva97

    >:( I have a 2 yr old. This just saddens my ?!!! You are not safe anywhere anymore, not even in the Lord's house. RIP Marquel!!! He was a cutie pie....

  • GSUDiva97

    >:( I have a 2 yr old. This just saddens my heart!!! You are not safe anywhere anymore, not even in the Lord's house. RIP Marquel!!! He was a cutie pie....

  • missy

    May he R.I.P ..I can't believe they just prayed over the child and left him there.....and went on as if nothing happened.....

  • onlinefan

    So sad. I think I read over on cnn this weekend that they didn't know he was shot until during the autopsy. And it ws this lady's only child.

    A stray bullet has no name - My next door neighbor pops his gun off on each holiday, and sometimes just all random out of the blue.

    I might ask him to start doing his celebration at a target like a tree instead of up in the air. Don't worry, he's a nice man he won't take offense to it and pop one off on me for tending to his business.

  • yanna402

    Wow, my heart goes out to the family. This is soooo sad!

  • BrealistiK

    This story is very disturbing. RIP little angel.

  • vetta

    This is a sad story and in the newspaper it said this little boy loved going to church and once someone was late picking him up for church and he was all upset because he thought he was going to miss church.

    Terika83--anytime day or night when I'm at home and if I hear anything that sounds even close to a gunshot, I'm running or ducking, lol.