Detroit - Yellow candlelight illuminated Tammarra Martin's tears Friday night as she grieved with a crowd of about 100 people for her 9-year-old cousin at the same spot where the child fell to his death earlier this week.
"He was a very happy boy. He liked to have fun," Martin said of Jerrod Burnett, who fell Wednesday from a nine-story apartment window. His death was ruled a suicide, making him the second boy under age 10 to take his life in Detroit since May.
Late Friday, community members gathered outside the Young Manor apartment complex on West Grand Boulevard to pass out candles; many remembered Jerrod for his love of basketball, skateboarding and video games. His death stunned those who gathered, including his schoolmates, many of whom created a memorial for the incoming fourth-grader at Thirkell Elementary School.
"It's so hard to accept he is not here," Shay Lee, a friend of the family, said. "He was a good kid, very respectful. Helped carry groceries for others."
Just after sundown, the Rev. Barak Holmes Jr., a family friend, gathered onlookers into a circle around a small memorial of flowers, balloons and toys for Jerrod, asking them to spread love in the community that was hurting.
"As that boy fell, he was lifting up a community," Holmes said. "Let's fight. Let's save our kids, save our babies."
The vigil was hours after the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office determined Jerrod's cause of death was a suicide after an autopsy, county spokeswoman Brooke Blackwell said
Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stephens said Jerrod fell around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police have said the boy had made threats of suicide in the past.
Police transported the boy to an area hospital where he was later pronounced dead, and questions have been raised about how long it took for emergency medical crews to arrive at the scene.
The state Department of Community Health plans to ask the Detroit East Medical Control Authority, the local supervising organization, to probe the EMS response, department spokeswoman Angela Minicuci said Thursday.
Jerald James, chief of the Detroit Fire Department's EMS division, said an ambulance was dispatched 1 minute and 20 seconds after the 911 call, but arrived 12 minutes later. Police arrived 41/2 minutes after the call, put the boy in the car and halted EMS, he said.
Visitation for Jerrod is from 2-7 p.m. Monday at Peace Funeral Home in Detroit. His funeral is at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit.
The other juvenile suicide occurred in May. The medical examiner determined a 7-year-old hanged himself from his bunk bed in May.
The boy's mother said he was depressed over a separation from his father and children bullying him at school. School officials denied the boy was bullied.