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."