From Bessemer City Schools:

Bessemer — July 3, 2020 — It is with deep regret that we announce the tragic loss of Jonesboro Elementary School student, Royta Giles Jr. (pronounced Roy-TAY Jyles). The young child was killed during a shooting this afternoon at the Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover.

School administrators have been speaking with the child’s family members and offer support as they grieve the sudden and difficult loss. “Our hearts are simply broken at the tragic loss of Royta. We are here for the family in every way possible, and we ask that everyone lifts the mother, family, and our school community in your prayers. This is tough,” says Bessemer City Schools superintendent, Dr. Autumm Jeter.

Royta Giles was heading to the 3rd grade this fall. Principal, Dr. Anjell Edwards, and staff describe him as a smart child, who was a jewel, with big dreams of someday entering the music industry. “He was bright, articulate, and very convincing. We even tried to convince him to become a lawyer,” says former assistant principal Mr. Van James.

The school system will remain available and continue to support those within the Bessemer City Schools family by all means possible to help them through this time. Meanwhile, those without immediate relationship to the family are asked to be sensitive to this tragic situation.

All inquiries related to this press release should be directed to investigators. Thank you in advance for respecting this request, which allows the District’s attention to remain on serving the students and families of impacted by this shooting.