DeKalb County

Girl who shot herself in back of mother’s car while riding down I-85 laid to rest

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — There were heavy hearts and unanswered questions as a family remembered a 4-year-old girl Friday afternoon.

Her mother had to watch the service from jail.

Kendall Lewis found her mother’s gun and shot herself along Interstate 85 near North Druid Hills Road in DeKalb County on Aug. 7.

The girl’s uncle said her mother, Kaelin Lewis, should not be charged with murder.

Kaelin Lewis is in jail on murder and felony child cruelty charges.

Her family said she should not be there because they believe this was just a horrible accident.

They remembered Kendall as a child who was full of life and couldn’t wait to start pre-K.

The girl’s uncle, Craig Rucker, said Kendall was thrilled to be starting school.

“That’s all she talked about,” Rucker said. “Her main focus was wanting to make friends. That was her main thing.”


The night before she was all set for her first day in pre-K, her life came to a tragic end.

Police say Kendall found a gun under the seat of her mother’s car as they drove on I-85 near the North Druid Hills exit earlier this month.

Kendall pulled the trigger and killed herself.

“This is devastating for the family and its going to take us some time to recover,” Rucker said.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones was there as family and friends arriving to say their goodbyes to a child who was quick with a smile and had a quick wit.

Her mother, Kaelin Lewis, wasn’t here because she is in jail facing murder and felony cruelty charges.

Her uncle says she should have been there because she is a loving mother, and this is a just a tragic accident.

“This is just a horrific accident,” Rucker said.

Lewis’ attorney Jackie Patterson told Jones that he doesn’t know what detectives were thinking charging this case as a murder.

“This is the first time in my 30 years I’ve heard of a mother being charged with murder because a child finds a gun in a location,” Patterson said.

Patterson said the arrest warrant even calls what happened an accident.

“She loved her daughter. There’s no way she would intentionally ever do anything to cause the death of her child,” Patterson said.

Rucker said his niece always looked out for Kendall.

“She was a great mom. She took care of Kendall. There were never any issues or anything like that. She was a loving mom,” Rucker said.

Patterson said Kaelin Lewis was able to watch the funeral service through a livestream at the jail.


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