News of the accidental shooting of an 8-year-old boy in Ecru saddened and shocked the entire community.
According to sources, Russell McWhirter was at his grandfather’s house in Ecru when he found a pistol between the mattresses of a bed he was straightening up, and the gun went off causing trauma to the boy’s head.
Coroner Kim Bedford has ruled the shooting accidental.
Russell was in the house with his older cousins who were in the kitchen at the time of the accident.
A neighbor came over to administer resuscitation to the boy while other emergency medical responders were getting to the scene.
Russell was remembered as a rambunctious boy who enjoyed playing baseball and was ardently affectionate toward his dad and the game.
He played this past summer with the Predators, a traveling USSSA team. His coaches were Mike Willard and Shawn Reeder.
“Russell was an exceptional kid,” Willard said. “He had a great desire to play baseball. He comes from a great family.”
Willard paused as he reflected over the past weeks of watching the youth play, trying to control his emotions. “He made the winning out that won the state championship. He tagged the runner out at home.”
Reeder said all the guys liked Russ. “He was a joy to be around. In that last game he brought in four runs. I remember going into the dugout and telling Brock that Russ was one of the reasons we won that game.”
And when Russ made that winning tag about three weeks ago … “Brock was the first one on the field to pick him up and give him a hug.”
Reeder said that he and Brock got together for their sons to hit the ball.
“In fact, last Friday we had made plans on getting our two boys together some time this week …” he paused his voice choking with emotion.
Mitch Montgomery was one of Russ’s coaches last year when he was a member of the All-Star team.
“He was a genuine kid. There was none more polite, courteous or respectful than Russ.
“He represented Pontotoc in a positive way not just for baseball but how you conduct yourself in public.”
Montgomery said Russ played “third base for us. He was a good hitter.
He had many, many good qualities, he was no problem whatsoever.”
He paused for a moment.
“It broke my heart when I heard the news yesterday. I’ve known Brock for a long time, I just can’t imagine what they are going through.”
Visitation for the family will be tonight at Endville Baptist Church from 5-9 p.m. Services will be tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Endville.
See the complete obituary in Wednesday’s Daily Journal.
Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress