NEWPORT (WATE) – A 7-year-old was fatally shot in Cocke County early Thursday morning.
Jayden Norton was shot around 12:48 a.m., according to the Cocke County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies said a handgun was found at the scene.
The child’s grandfather, Christopher Allen Russell, 54, died during a car crash shortly after the shooting, according to deputies. The crash involved one vehicle on North Highway 340 in Parrottsville.
Tennessee Highway Patrol is helping the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation of the crash.
The tragedy is not only hitting the family, but also the entire community.
“There’s a mom who is hurting. In a short time span, losing your only child and your father,” said Dr. Robert Vick, principal of Parrotsville Elementary School.
Jayden Norton was a second grader at Parrotsville Elementary. He played football for the community’s recreational team. Since Friday, children at his school have been writing cards to show their support for the family.
“There is no set way on how you handle something as tragic as the loss of a child,” said Dr. Vick.
A vigil was held for Jayden Norton at Parrotsville football field. More than 100 people showed up.
“Our thoughts go out to her. I know this community… our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family,” said Dr. Vick.