Alfreddie Gipson was not a typical 10-year-old boy. Last year when he suspected a classmate had stolen his bicycle, Alfreddie knocked on the boy’s door and told the parent he wasn’t there to cause trouble; he just wanted his bicycle. “That’s not the way normal things are handled around here, but that was his way,” Pastor Tim Cox of Brinkley Heights Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., told MSNBC.com. “He was very thoughtful. He would think through things.”
People who knew Alfreddie often said he was the oldest 10-year-old they had ever met. He spent time memorizing Scripture from the Bible and earned the nickname “Little Preacher.” “He just fed on the Bible and on Jesus and on living for God and loving others, which is so different from what we see in not just our neighborhood, but in our world today,” said Pastor Cox, who was Alfreddie’s godfather. “He was mature beyond his years.”
Alfreddie was a fifth-grader at Brinkley Heights Urban Academy in Memphis, where Pastor Cox is the executive director. The 10-year-old excelled in school, his grandfather, Alfreddie Warr, told MSNBC.com. The school gym was a second home to him. Most days he arrived at school at 7:30 a.m. and did not leave the gym until 8 p.m. Basketball was his favorite sport, but he also played flag football. A natural athlete, he learned to play baseball two years ago, quickly mastering the art of the fastball. “He tried to do some of everything,” Warr said. The school teaches children to reclaim the streets of the community and act as local missionaries. Alfreddie often played curb ball with other children in the neighborhood.
Alfreddie frequently visited Pastor Cox’s home, where he loved to cook “Sunshine Toast”–French toast with an egg in the middle. He also enjoyed making blueberry pancakes and eating them covered in blueberry syrup. “He was one of those kids whose smiles just makes you smile. He could light up a room just walking in,” Pastor Cox said. “To know him was just to have a special blessing in your life.”
Alfreddie was accidentally shot to death by his 12-year-old brother on Christmas Day 2012, when the siblings were holding an unsecured handgun in their Memphis home.