Ecru shooting victim remembered for athletics, character

ECRU – Russell McWhirter, the 8-year-old who died from an accidental gunshot wound, was remembered Tuesday as “just a genuine kid” with a deep love of baseball.
McWhirter was killed Monday at his grandfather’s house where, as he was straightening up the bed, he found a pistol between the mattresses.
The gun went off and he was struck in the head.
His older cousins were in the kitchen at the time of the accident, and neighbors tried to resuscitate the child as emergency responders made their way to the house.
Coroner Kim Bedford ruled the shooting accidental.
A day after his death, some of those who knew him remembered his athletic ability but, more importantly, his character.
“He was just a genuine kid,” said Mitch Montgomery, his all-star baseball coach.
“There was none more polite than Russ. He represented Pontotoc in a positive way not just for baseball, but how to conduct yourself in public.”
The son of Brock and Mellanie Quillian McWhirter, he was a student at North Pontotoc Elementary School and played summer baseball with the Predators, a traveling USSSA team.
Coach Mike Willard remembered McWhirter’s play that gave his team the state championship last month. “He tagged the runner out at home.”
Like Montgomery, Willard saw beyond the baseball prowess, calling McWhirter “a joy to be around.”

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal