In the wake of the death of 4-year-old Marquel Peters, DeKalb Police are reviewing their response to the incident.
William Miller, the DeKalb County director of Public Safety, and other police officials met with the boy’s family last week to express sympathy and to assure the family that everything is being done to find who is responsible for Peters’ death.
“We are in the process of reviewing the total response by our personnel,” Miller said Jan. 12. “As things come out, we may want to look more deeply into certain things, but right now we are just reviewing the total response.”
DeKalb Police said that a bullet fired from a gun by someone celebrating the new year pierced a hole in the roof of The Church of God of Prophecy in Decatur and struck Marquel in the head. He died a short time later at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, before doctors could stabilize him enough to surgically remove the bullet.
“We are not going to let that boy die in vain,” Miller said. “I would implore all the citizens of DeKalb County to find a way other than firing guns to celebrate holidays like New Year and the Fourth of July.”
The family met with police officials to express concerns about the way certain things were handled on New Year’s Eve.
Natalee Peters, Marquel’s mother, said last week that a couple of nurses in the congregation were applying pressure to the wound until paramedics arrived. Paramedics thought debris from the ceiling caused the bleeding and that it was a flesh wound, church pastor Lloyd Phipps had said. Family members also expressed concern that Marquel was in the ambulance 10 to 15 minutes before he was taken to Egleston.
Both Miller and Gary Peters, Marquel’s uncle, said the meeting was very positive.
“They said they were going to do everything in their power to find out who did this,” Gary Peters said.
“It was not a finger-pointing situation at all,” Miller said. “I was amazed at the strength of Natalee Peters, and how much support she has from her brother and other family members and the pastor.
“I’m not saying we did everything right, but we are reviewing everything,” Miller continued. “A lot of emotions poured out, and we want to make sure something like this never happens again.”
Marquel’s funeral is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 15 at The Church of God of Prophecy, according to family members. A viewing is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Also, the Marquel Nathaniel Peters Memorial Fund has been set up and contributions can be made at any Bank of America location. Donations go to help the family with funeral expenses.