Oakdale boy killed by gunfire 'loved life, loved everybody'by Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
OAKDALE, Minn. — The Washington County Attorney expects to bring charges Wednesday against a man accused of shooting at traffic in Oakdale and killing a 9-year-old Devin Aryal, who was riding in his family's minivan when a bullet struck him in the head.
Meanwhile, family, friends and neighbors of the family in Oakdale gathered Tuesday night to remember the fourth-grader who loved playing soccer and dreamed of flying in space.
"He was just a remarkable boy," his mother, Melissa Aryal, said from her home the day after the shooting. She was also wounded. "He loved life, loved everybody, everybody loved him, loved school, loved math, science, wanted to be an astronaut, that was his goal."
• Photos: Vigil for 9-year-old Devin Aryal
• Oakdale mother held son in arms after shooting
• Oakdale police statement on suspect
• Today's Question: What steps to reduce gun violence?
Aryal had picked up her son from day care just before 6 p.m. Monday, as she'd done countless times before. She was waiting to turn left onto Hadley Avenue North from 7th Street North in the St. Paul suburb when her window shattered and her arm went numb. But it was only when Aryal pulled into the parking lot of Rainbow Foods to call 911 that she realized Devin was wounded - and much more seriously.
Aryal cradled her little boy as they waited for the ambulance to arrive. Devin died later at a hospital. The next day at her home, Aryal remembered Devin as a happy and generous kid with a positive attitude and a love of learning.
Pastor John Stiles of Holy Cross Lutheran Church said he had never met Devin. But his church is next door to Oakdale Elementary School, where Devin was a student, so Stiles organized an interfaith vigil and threw open his doors to the grieving community.
During the service, Stiles said many people asked him why a child could lose his life in such a violent and random way. But the pastor said no person can answer that.
"The more important question on my heart today is not, 'Why,' or, 'How could this have happened?' But, 'What now? What now?'" he told those gathered. The reason for the vigil was to remind people that they are not alone as they mourn, he added.
Many children came to grieve for their friend. Devin's fellow students at Oakdale Elementary remembered him much the same way his mother did. Classmate Mike Thomas said Devin was a smart kid who had a fun sense of humor.
"He liked to tell funny jokes and he liked to read books and stuff," Thomas said.
Katie Schuette came to the service with her son Sander, who's two years younger than Devin.
"I don't know that they were close, but they were acquaintances in school and he always thought Devin was very nice to him," she said.
After the service, Devin's grandfather, Steven Laventure, said he appreciated the large turnout, and remembered how much Devin enjoyed being outdoors.
"He loved to fish. We had a cabin up north and he loved being up north. He was a happy-go-lucky little guy. Everybody loved him," Laventure said.
Laventure said funeral arrangements for his grandson are still pending.
- Morning Edition, 02/13/2013, 6:15 a.m.