5-year-old killed after tree falls on house during storm: ‘I just saw his legs go limp’
JENNINGS, Mo. (KMOV/Gray News) – A 5-year-old boy was killed when a tree fell on his house during severe storms in St. Louis on Saturday afternoon.
According to St. Louis County police, officers responded to a home in Jennings around 4 p.m. after a woman reported her son was inside the house where the tree had fallen.
Police confirmed that the tree fell onto the rear portion of the house where the child’s bedroom was located, and he was unconscious and trapped beneath the tree.
Police said it took first responders several attempts to free the boy from the rubble. He was taken to the hospital but was later pronounced dead.
The family identified the 5-year-old as Robert Lawrence III, better known as RJ.
His mother, LaWanda Thomas, described RJ as “the most loving kid you could ever possibly meet in this world.”
She recalled RJ’s tragic final moments, saying it was hard to locate her son underneath all the rubble.
“I just kept on telling him to hold on,” she said through tears. “And I start trying to unbury him from all the debris that was on top of him from the ceiling falling on him. And all of a sudden, I just saw his legs go limp.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover RJ’s funeral costs.
“My baby was 5. He just graduated from kindergarten,” Thomas said.
Yolonda Fountain Henderson is the Missouri state representative for the area. She said she is placing Thomas and her other child, a 3-year-old, in a hotel for emergency shelter since their home was destroyed.
“We’re gonna get her some help,” Fountain Henderson said.
RJ was one of two fatalities in the area from Saturday’s storms. In St. Louis City, a 33-year-old woman was killed by a tree that fell a car she was sitting in.
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