4-year-old in critical condition after morning shooting that kills both of his parents
KALAMAZOO, Mich. —
A 4-year-old Kalamazoo boy is hospitalized in critical condition today after an early morning shooting on Emerson Street, near Burdick. Both the child’s mother, Julina Gibson, and his father, Nicholas Allen Mitchell Jr., died in the shooting.
It was just before 7 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, when neighbors heard the gunshots: three loud pops. The deceased were found on the lawn; the child was rushed to Bronson Methodist Hospital.
The shooting occurred in the home’s front yard. Since then, family and friends have been arriving at the home, screaming and sobbing in their grief. One woman yelled, “He killed my sister.”
Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety investigators said they are treating the incident as a murder-suicide.
Julina Gibson’s cousin, Felecia, said the parents were in a custody dispute regarding their son.
“It was a back and forth thing, and I believe she was reaching out for help,” the cousin said. “You have people stalking you, and messing with you and you got a kid by them and when you have a relationship with them. Like I said she was reaching out for help and couldn't get that help.”
Neighbors also gathered at the scene, and expressed their concerns about the shooting.
"It's an unfortunate incident that's happened, you know, a tragedy," neighbor Johnathon Childress said as crews were cleaning up the scene. "It seems lately Kalamazoo has been kind of plagued with a lot of bad happenings."
Kalamazoo County Court records indicate that Mitchell and Gibson were in the middle of a child custody dispute. According to the records, she had sole custody, but he had some visitation rights. Both agreed to share financial responsibilities, but court records indicate that as of October he owed child support.
On Oct. 17, a bench warrant was issued for Nicholas Allen Mitchell Jr., but the records are not clear on why the warrant was issued.
Child involved in early morning fatal shooting