Toddler killed in drive-by 'never had a chance'

Family, friends mourn, seek answers after boy killed sitting in car

By Francesca Amiker - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Family and friends of a 22-month-old boy shot and killed in a drive-by a week ago gathered Friday evening to pay their final respects to the toddler.

According to police, Aiden McClendon was in a car with his mother and grandmother last Friday night when shots were fired from a car driving by. The toddler was struck several times and rushed to a hospital, where he died.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is still working to solve the boy's slaying, and local group MAD DADS said it will continue to canvass the area until the baby's killer is found.

A.J. Jordan, vice president of MAD DADS, has been working with the family to solve the crime and bring Aiden justice.

“It's been a horrible experience,” Jordan said. “I mean, one minute you're sitting with your child on a Friday night, and the next minute, bullets are flying through the car and your child is dead and you're confused. You don't understand. You have any questions.”

Questions like who would want to shoot up the home of the boy's grandmother and why the life of a beautiful baby boy was taken so soon?

“When I was told what happened and then I spoke to the mother and grandmother, they told me the little man was in the car seat, and he never had a chance at all. No chance at all,” said Renaldo Lampkins, co-owner of Lampkins Patterson Cremation Funeral Service, which handled Aiden's service on Friday.

The mortician, who is a father of four, wants to bring a plan of action to Jacksonville and not only tell the story of senseless deaths like Aiden's but show them to the community.

He'd like to have an open house where citizens can see the results of gun violence.

“When I have bodies in there that have been shot up... (it would) give these guys a reality check,” Lampkins said. “They look at the stuff on television, shooting a gun, and they may leave the scene, but I want them to see the aftereffects. It's something that me and my partner, Mr. Patterson, we're doing right now trying to set something up like that with the sheriff's department.”

Anyone with information about Aiden's shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

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