MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - If you knew him, you loved him. Those were the words of a mother who is mourning the loss of her child tonight. Friday morning, 12-year-old Lorel Malone died at USA Medical Center in Mobile, AL. Moss Point School District officials say he was taken to the hospital on Thursday after being injured in a fight with another seventh grader at Magnolia Middle School.
School officials said at a news conference Friday they are not aware of Lorel Malone having problems with bullies prior to the deadly fight, but there is an investigation underway.
Lorel's grandmother, Lamarg Miller, said the boy lived with her and had told her he was being bullied. Lorel transferred to the Moss Point School District in January from Colmer Middle School in Pascagoula. His grandmother said as the new kid, other kids have been trying to fight him. However, she said she's not sure what led to the fight that cost her grandson his life.
"My son Lorel was a sweet little boy. If you knew him, you loved him. If you met him, you're going to meet him again," said his mother LaKenisa Nobles.
Nobles will never see her son smile again. Tearfully she told reporters that rumors of Lorel being a troublemaker were untrue.
"He wasn't a bully," said Nobles. "Everyone he met, he wasn't a stranger to no one."
Moss Point School officials say they've been working to teach students to work out their differences without using their fists.
"We handle allegations of bullying the same way we do anything else. We investigate it. We try to provide the counseling to our students," said Superintendent, Dr. Maggie Griffin. "We also have a DARE program in place at Escatawpa. We have one at the middle school that we're looking at trying to work with our children to provide alternatives to how they handle conflict in a positive manner."
Police are looking into what led to Lorel's death.
"Details of the investigation will not be released. However, the families should feel confident in knowing the police department is reviewing all of the evidence," said Moss Point Police Chief Keith Davis.
"To the parents out there, talk to your children," said Davis. "If there is any information out there, certainly the police department wants to know it. Regardless of how insignificant you may think it may be, we still want to know about that information."
Griffin said school officials and clergy met with the families of both students on Friday. She said the grieving families need the support of the community.
"What we're doing right now is just reaching out to the families to express our sympathy and our support for them at this time," Griffin said. "As all of you know, those of you who are parents and grandparents, this is the worst thing that could possibly happen and that you never ever want to face. As a parent and a grandmother myself, I definitely would not want to stand here today in this position as a superintendent or anyone else.
Lorel Malone's grandmother said the exact the cause of death is not clear right now, and the family has requested an autopsy. Miller said after the fight her grandson was having seizures, and he had never had seizures before the incident.