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11-year-old murders grandmother then turns gun on himself

by By Margaret Stewart - Copy Editor
Tue, Nov 13th 2018 08:00 pm
tragic ending After being asked multiple times by his grandparents to clean his room, an 11-year-old boy took his grandfather's gun and shot his grandmother in the back of the head. The identity of the boy has remained private as police continue their investigation into whether or not there were other factors that may have driven the boy to take such drastic measures.
tragic ending After being asked multiple times by his grandparents to clean his room, an 11-year-old boy took his grandfather's gun and shot his grandmother in the back of the head. The identity of the boy has remained private as police continue their investigation into whether or not there were other factors that may have driven the boy to take such drastic measures.

Gun violence is becoming commonplace in the United States. As technology has developed, so has the creativity of terrorists and serial killers. The last month has been filled with news of mass shootings and pipe bombs sent through the mail. However, what is surprising about this latest murder-suicide, is the shooter was an 11-year-old boy.

Yvonne Woodard, 65, resided on West Grove Street in Litchfield Park, Arizona, which is located just outside Phoenix. Woodard lived with her husband Doyle Herbert and their 11-year-old grandson, of whom they had full custody over. Their grandson, whose name has not been released, shot and killed his grandmother before shooting and killing himself. Why? According to abc13.com, it was because he didn't want to clean his room.

According to m.cnn.com, Sargent Joaquin Enriquez, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, released a statement on Sunday, Nov. 4 saying, “the grandfather told detectives that he and his wife asked the boy to clean his room and pick up after himself throughout the day because he was being stubborn about it.”

Not wanting to clean a room is something a majority of people can relate to. However, this extreme reaction is not. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 49,488 incidents of gun related violence so far in 2018. 12,618 of these have resulted in deaths and 308 of them have been considered mass shootings. 

As the couple sat on their couch watching TV, their grandson approached them from behind and shot his grandmother in the back of her head with his grandfather’s gun.

The nypost.com states, “Hebert initially ran after his grandson, but doubled back seconds later to check on his wife. He then heard a second gunshot and saw his grandson take a few steps before collapsing.” Herbert then picked up the gun and called the police.  

The incident has shocked the family’s neighborhood. Walter Venerable, one of the Woodard’s neighbors told KTVK, a CNN affiliate, they were a “nice family.” Venerable would go on to say that he “knew the kid… he would ride his bicycle around, play around the neighborhood. It really hasn’t set in just yet. I mean this is a nice neighborhood, it’s really quiet -- as you can see -- it’s just a tragic, tragic thing.”

Danny Dillon, another neighbor, spoke in an interview with KTVK. Dillon said, “the family was friendly and always waved as he came and went…You have that neighborly connection but your heart just wishes that you had more and you could’ve done more, you could’ve seen something or said something.”

In an interview with The Post, Enriquez said, “There was no cause for concern prior to this event.” The sheriff’s office says there is still an ongoing investigation as there is currently no previous evidence that would suggest the grandson would wish to harm himself or others.

Gun violence has been on the rise throughout recent years. According to gunviolencearchive.org, in 2014 there were 44,815 incidents of gun violence, in 2015 there were 53,762, in 2016 there were 58,956 and in 2017 61,881. This has been a big part of the recent push for stricter laws in regards to gun violence. 

The reason why these incidents are on the rise is looked at on a case by case basis though, for the most part, is unclear. 

Many believe it’s due to mental illness. However, according to a 2015 study by Professor Adam Lankford from the University of Alabama, “Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population, but own 42 percent of the world’s guns. From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American.” 

With the United States being one of the world leaders in both incarcerations and in gun ownership per person, and while mental health undoubtedly plays a role in some of these gun related incidents, the access to and lack of required training in regards to obtaining a firearm could be the root of the problem.

Having such easy access to these firearms continues to be an issue. America's streets are spilling with blood and if something is not done soon, gun violence will continue being a major issue in this country.