Tuscaloosa City school and family remember Kei’lan Allen with reflections and balloon release

Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 5:09 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2022 at 5:11 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Westlawn Middle School principal Darlene Atkins focused on who Kei’lan Allen was, and not the tragic circumstances surrounding his death. Atkins was not alone. Kei’lan’s grandmother felt the same way.

Before the balloon release in front Westlawn Middle School on October 14, principal Darlene Atkins struck a chord of remembrance, honoring Kei’lan Allen for who he was... and what he likely would have become.

“A beautiful soul who meant and continues to mean so very much to us, not only to his family but also to his extended Westlawn family,” said Atkins.

Kei’lan Allen was shot and killed while sitting in his bedroom, looking at his iPad in his home on Washington Square, silenced by a bullet meant for someone else, according to police. Investigators said someone else in the home was the intended target. Kei’lan Allan was only 13-years old who long ago captured his grandmother’s heart. Georgia Black read from a prepared speech during the remembrance.

“A part of my soul died when Kei’lan was killed by a gun by four young black men. My daughter and four other mothers lost their sons, too. Everyday, more than a hundred Americans are killed by guns,” said Black.

The suspects have not gone to trial yet.

“Approximately another 200 are wounded by guns,” said Black.

And to drive that point home, the family says a large photo of Kei’lan will light up a billboard on 15th Street near Cook-Out in Tuscaloosa for one day on October 15. Underneath the photo, a simple message to the masses who might see it from the road.

“Stop gun violence. It’s too much. We’re killing our children and Kei’lan just wanted us to be kind to one another, so if you see this sign, please, please stop and think,” said Black.

And finally, the release.

“We love you, Kei’lan,” family and friends said as they let go dozens of balloons in the clear blue sky Friday morning.

Kei’lan Allen was a eighth grader at Westlawn Middle School. Both his grandmother and principal said Kei’lan was nurturing a love for science.

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