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Brignall releases balloons for slain child

Two dozen children let go of the ribbons they were grasping tightly Friday and 24 blue and white balloons drifted above Brignall Park and floated toward heaven.

Blue was the favorite color of a little 7-year-old who was shot and killed June 12 while he played his video game, “Fortnite,” in his living room. Quantavious Allen Jr., who was known in the Brignall community as Yang Yang, will be buried today in Hillcrest Cemetery following a 3 p.m. funeral service at the Brookhaven Elementary School.

His father, Quantavious Allen Sr., was nearly a victim, too, said Allen’s grandmother, Ophelia Allen. He was in his mother’s bedroom watching television and 5-year-old Quanyia Allen was in her bedroom playing when they heard the sounds of gunfire and bullets hitting the house.

He and his daughter ran into the hallway when they heard Allen say he was hit.

Ophelia Allen said one of the bullets whizzed past her son.

“If he had made one more step, it would have got him in the head,” she said.

Allen Sr. said he is in awe of the generosity of everyone who has reached out to his family after this tragedy.

“People all across Brookhaven, black and white, it seems like everybody has come out in our community,” Ophelia Allen said.

“I love my town,” Allen Sr. added.

Queen Adams, Allen’s maternal grandmother, said her daughter Constance Adams, who is incarcerated in Ranking County Detention Center, will be allowed to attend the funeral today strengthened the community and their families.

“It brought a lot of people together,” she said.

Quantavious Allen Sr. is thankful to the mayor and city of Brookhaven, to the Brookhaven Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, to the people who made blue T-shirts for the children and teenagers of Brignall, and to all of those people local and out-of-state who offered to help pay for Allen’s funeral.

A group of volunteers led by landscaper Joe Parker, Brookhaven Cares for Brignall, is organizing a trip to a water park for 75 children in the Brignall community June 29.

Parker also organized the balloon release at the park, where volunteers signed up children and chaperones for the trip.

They estimate the trip will cost at least $3,100 for admission and lunch at Blue Bayou and another $600 to $700 for a stop for dinner on the way back to Brookhaven. There’s also the cost of chaperones’ tickets and food and the bus rental.

They have collected nearly $2,000 toward their goal, Parker said.

Parker said he was moved to do something because children that he usually sees playing in Brignall, where he lives, have stayed indoors. When they do come outside, they stay close to their front door and they don’t venture out to the neighborhood park.

“Kids are afraid to leave out of their yard,” he said.

He said he wanted to do something that would give them a sense of security and take their minds off their friend’s murder.

“They work hard in school, they’re passing and making good grades,” he said. “We need to take them to a water park and let them have fun.”

Donations are accepted at Brookhaven Law at 213 South Railroad Ave. Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.