Esparanza Napari recently spent some time remembering her student DeAndre Robinson, whose life was tragically taken away at 5 years old in a Dec. 28 shooting in Jasper County.
Robinson was a kindergarten student at Ridgeland Elementary School. He had been jumping on a bed at his grandparents’ home in Wagon Branch when he was struck by a bullet that came through the wall, according to police.
“DeAndre was such a sweet and happy boy,” Napari said. “Our classroom was always filled with fun, as he was not just a friend and a classmate, but for most, a big brother. A leader in his own ways, he was a model for younger students in singing and dancing. He was so bubbly.”
Napari said DeAndre was “an angel who taught us that kindness does not need to be big actions, but simple words of please and thank you.”
“He was generous with his hugs and high-fives,” Napari said. “He looked forward to coming to school every day. He would always welcome us with his warm smile early in the morning, a smile we will never get to see again. A smile coming from our own angel, DeAndre. He may have left us, but he will always be part of us.”
The Jasper County School District, soon after the tragic news, sent out its condolences to all who knew Robinson.
“The Jasper County School District extends our deepest condolences regarding the loss of one of our scholars, DeAndre Robinson, 5 years of age, whose life was shortened by a fatal shooting Tuesday night in the Wagon Branch area,” the district said in a statement. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family and friends. May the grace of God keep you during this tragic loss.”
Law enforcement agencies are still investigating, according to the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, which has said a possible drive-by shooting occurred Dec. 28 at the residence where Robinson was shot.
Chief Deputy Jeff Crosby said the shooting happened around 9:15 p.m. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division continues to assist the sheriff’s office in the investigation.
Crosby said Robinson had been jumping on a bed when gunshots were heard, and a relative tried to get him off the bed and away from the gunfire. He said the relative then realized Robinson had been struck.
Robinson was transported to the Ridgeland Fire Department by family and then to Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville, where he succumbed to the injuries, police said.
The sheriff’s office had not released any information about possible suspects as of Friday, but Crosby said police were “making great progress” in the investigation.
A GoFundMe page was set up by a coworker of Robinson’s mother to help the family with funeral expenses. As of Friday, it had raised $8,700 with a goal of $10,000. It can be found at “Fundraiser by Melinda Nicholson: Funeral expenses for DeAndre Robinson” on gofundme.com.
Concerned Citizens of Jasper County has reached out to the public for help in solving the case. The group’s Facebook page has more than 8,500 members.
“As a community, we are demanding JUSTICE for DeAndre!” the group’s founder Charles Mitchell said. “If you know something, please get in touch with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. If we stay quiet about a innocent child being murdered, what does that say about us as a community?”
Anyone with any information about the shooting is asked to contact the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office at 843-726-7779, Jasper County Dispatch at 843-726-7519 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.