A local mother says she won't rest until police capture the person who shot her youngest son, who died in her arms.
Her son died after being shot in the chest while answering the door to his cousin's apartment in East St. Louis.
Keirson Coleman, 20, answered the door to the apartment, located at 401 Wimmer Place, a little before 1 a.m. Monday, and as he pulled it open, the individual on the other side fired a gunshot into his chest. That bullet struck another cousin, who ran to the apartment door just behind Coleman, according to Coleman's mother.
Coleman's cousin was transported to a hospital, where he remained Friday. Coleman was pronounced dead at 2:57 a.m. Monday by an emergency room doctor, according to St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr.
Police had not released any information about the identity of the gunman as of Friday morning. Investigators with East St. Louis Police Department and Illinois State Police say they have been following up on leads to locate and arrest the suspected killer.
Coleman's mother, Kimberly Coleman, said she won't rest until the killer is brought to justice. She said her son didn't deserve to die the way he did.
"How do you take someone's life like that? It's tragic. People are just getting bolder. It never hits home until it hits your home. I want justice," Kimberly Coleman said.
She said her son was a hero.
"He saved my life. What if I had answered that door? What is this world coming to? You can't even answer the door," she said.
Kimberly Coleman, recalling the events of the day prior to her son getting shot, said she and her relatives had a fun, ordinary day. She and her youngest son had just moved back to East St. Louis from Texas.
"We got here Feb. 7. I was staying with my niece (at the apartment where the shooting occurred), I cooked dinner and at about 5:30 p.m., my niece called her baby's father on Facebook so the baby could talk to his father," Coleman recalled. Coleman said her son and the other cousin were in the background playing with the baby.
Kimberly Coleman said she went to bed between 6:30 and 7 p.m., and then there was a knock at the door.
"It all happened so fast. He (Keirson Coleman) ran to where I was laying down. He took the C-pap off my nose, grabbed his chest and said, 'Mom. I've been shot!" Coleman said.
She added: "He was in shock. ... He kissed me on my cheek and said, 'I might not make it.' My son died in my arms."
Kimberly Coleman said she wants anyone with information to come forward and talk to the police.
"This gun violence needs to stop. Somebody needs to put an end to all of these shootings," she said.
She said it was difficult for her to make the call to tell Keirson's brother that he had been shot and killed just a couple of weeks after he had come back home. Coleman said her son liked to rap, and that was another reason she and Keirson were moving back to East St. Louis.
"He wanted to produce a song. He said the only way he could do that was to come home," Coleman said.
She said she can't afford a funeral and burial for her son, so a GoFundMe campaign has been set up in his name.
Anyone with information can call East St. Louis Police Department at 618-482-6700, Illinois State Police at 618-346-3990 or the CrimeStoppers anonymous tip line at 866-371-TIPS (8477).
Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503, @carolynhendri18