A 7-year-old boy was killed Wednesday night in a bizarre accident involving an outdoor swing in Pascagoula.
Staten Laseter was swinging with friends when the swing tipped over, and it fell on him. County Coroner Vicki Broadus told us Staten was taken to Singing River Hospital a little after 9 p.m. Wednesday. He died from a massive blow to the head.
People at the yacht club told us several children were riding the heavy wooden swing. It's one of several playground toys on the yacht club grounds. The coroner told us the swing was not anchored in the ground. Broadus says she was told someone was pushing the swing when it turned over.
Laseter turned 7 just two days before the accident. Staten asked friends who celebrated his birthday with him to bring food for the animal shelter instead of presents for himself.
Laseter was a first grader at Resurrection Elementary. A memorial was built for him at Sacred Heart Church and Resurrection Elementary on Thursday. Quiet prayers and small mementos were a few ways students at Resurrection elementary school tried to deal with their classmate's death.
The school's principal says Staten was a joy to be around.
"His teacher shared with me today, he dreamed of being pilot, and he is certainly soaring in the skies now," Principal Elizabeth Benefield said. "He was such a delight; he was ray of sunshine, a precious, thoughtful child."
News of the accident made it to school before most of the students. The entire school attend a special morning mass in memory of Staten.
"I asked them to remember Jeff and Melissa, the little boy's parents, who are heartbroken of course, and that's who my heart goes out to," Father Mike Kelleher said.
Father Mike Kelleher performed last rites on the boy, and he says nothing can prepare a family for this kind of loss.
"Trying to make some sense out of it is an exercise in futility," Father Kelleher said. "Even though the little boy is gone in the human sense, he is not gone. He lives on in our memory of him."
A scholarship in Staten's name has been set up at Resurrection Elementary School in Pascagoula. His family requests donations to that fund instead of flowers.
Staten's death has been ruled an accident.