Daughter of Kroger shooting victim addresses panel about coping, hate crimes

Kellie Watson, telling a small group how she talks about hate with her son, who witnessed it's lethal results firsthand.
Updated: Sep. 4, 2019 at 11:35 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The daughter of a man killed in last year's Kroger shooting is telling her story, hoping her words can prevent the hate that led to his death.

Kellie Watson spoke to a small group at a Frazier History Museum panel Wednesday about how she talks about hate with her son, who witnessed its lethal results firsthand.

“In this case, my child saved his life,” Watson said.

Her son was 12 last October at Kroger buying poster board for a school project with his grandfather Maurice Stallard. That’s when a gunman killed Stallard.

“You don’t want to rob your child of their childhood,” Watson said.

The case is being prosecuted as a hate crime. A white man is charged with killing two black shoppers.

A lawsuit filed by Watson, on behalf of her son, claims the gunman pointed the weapon at her child, but didn’t fire.

“We are still suffering,” Watson said. “To say that I’m through it would be wrong.”

While telling her story, she made a call to action for people to stand up against hate.

"What we do on a daily basis, not just he and I, but the rest of my family, is live life because my father lived life,” Watson said.

Others listened to the powerful words as those on a panel offered up their thoughts on how to fight the issue of hate in Louisville.

“To really get to kids as soon as possible, I think K-12 education is essential where people can appreciate diversity,” Dr. Ricky Jones, Pan-African Studies at UofL, said.

A panel of leaders from different races, faiths and sexual orientations spoke with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer in search of peace and safety.

“This is the time that we need to reach out to each other,” Dr. Muhammad Babar, a leader with the Muslim Americans for Compassion, said. “We need to know the story of our fellow human beings and we need to put ourselves in their shoes.”

Watson filed a lawsuit against Kroger last month. Among other complaints, it alleges the company allowed customers to carry firearms in the store despite knowing more than two dozen shootings have happened on its properties and inside locations across the country, including the same Stonybrook store in 2007.

This week Kroger and Walmart both asked customers not to openly carry in their stores.

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