GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Tonight, for the first time we hear from a mother who just lost her three-year-old son in a murder—suicide.
She says wants this incident to raise awareness about domestic violence.
Three-year-old Jesse Adams of Grifton died Friday night when his father, Carey Adams Jr., shot him and then shot himself in the head.
Deputies say the situation escalated from an ongoing domestic dispute between Adams and his estranged wife, Christy.
9 On Your Side talked the first responding deputy and victim advocate who have been by the mother's side since she lost her son on Friday.
They say Christy Adams wants the focus to be on preventing violence like this in the future – violence Deputy Mason Paramore says he will never forget.
"I took the mother to the hospital in hopes that maybe I could give her an opportunity to say goodbye,” Paramore says. “That was a long ride from Grifton to the hospital, talking and praying together and a whole lot of crying together."
He says he has been in contact with Christy Adams ever since. He is a father, too, and says it's difficult to make sense of the situation.
"The safest place in the world that a child should be is in his mom or dad's bed, cuddled up with them,” Paramore says. “And that was not the case this time."
Sharon Singleton is a victim advocate for the Pitt County Sheriff's Dept. who has been by Christy’s side every step of the way. She says the mother knew a different side to husband.
"She doesn't want the concentration to be put on C.J.,” Singleton says. “She doesn't want everybody to make him out to be the worst person that ever walked the Earth. She wants us to know that once upon a time, he was a really good person. He had a very sweet little boy, she said he loves his little boy and Jesse loved him."
In a statement, Christy Adams said, “We never imagined ourselves in this situation we are in, and we will strive to help any parent or grandparent from ever thinking they have to face a tragedy like this alone. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for all the donations, prayers and acts of kindness that have been showered on our family."
She has now set up the Jesse Ray Adams Foundation as a way to promote awareness and educate others about domestic violence.
And as for little 3-year-old Jesse, Deputy Paramore says he will be forever remembered....
"As an innocent child, just like he was…”
Christy Adams says she encourages everyone who was touched by Jesse to feel welcome at his funeral on Thursday.
If you'd like to help, you can make contributions to:
Jesse Ray Adams Foundation, P.O. Box 543, Grimesland, N.C. 27834
- or -
The memorials may be delivered to any BB&T location.
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Funeral arrangements are set for Jesse Adams, the 3-year-old boy shot by his father.
Services will be held at 2:00 pm Thursday July 19, 2012 at New Destiny Pentecostal Holiness Church in Greenville. They'll be conducted by Rev. Marc Swanner. The child's burial will follow in Pamlico Memorial Gardens.
Pitt County deputies say Jesse's father, 34-year-old Carey Adams Jr., shot the toddler and then turned the gun on himself just after 10 o'clock Friday night in Grifton.
"You always play the game what could I have done if I had been closer or I could've got there faster," says Sheriff Neil Elks.
Adams underwent surgery at Vidant Medical Center Sunday and later died.
Deputies say the situation escalated from an ongoing domestic dispute with the boy's mother. They say Adams called her right before, and told her he was going to shoot his son. She called 9-1-1 but by the time deputies arrived, Adams had already fired the shots.
Jesse died at Vidant Medical Center.
Neighbors 9 On Your Side talked with say they're shocked and saddened by what happened.
"Looks like a happy family. You know, I didn't see anything that would tell otherwise," said Trace Yarbrough, neighbor.
"I didn't sleep much knowing that a kid is involved like that, an innocent child. So, I can't fathom it to be right honest," said Ben Gaskins, neighbor.
With no recent calls to the home for domestic violence, Sheriff Elks says there was no indication that things would ever escalate to this point.
Sheriff Elks says he and his responding deputies are also having a tough time recovering from everything they witnessed that night.
"It's very challenging and it's very disturbing," he says. "You find yourself staring at the ceiling a lot at night with nobody to talk to... Just because we wear a badge and a uniform, our hearts and minds are not protected. You're still a human. You find yourself sensitive to things like this."
Sheriff Elks says the recent rash of brutal murders in pitt county has been psychologically tough for his deputies.
"We've just recently had the Farmville homicides there at the Hustle Mart," he says. "That was dramatic and tragic in itself. That's still fresh in all of our minds. And now we've seen this happen. It's just a replay of tragic events and you can't help but wonder where does it end? Or what's going to be next?"
Sheriff Elks says to deal with their emotions, deputies can attend counseling sessions.
He says the investigation is ongoing.