Community holds car wash for young boy shot, killed at north Phoenix home

Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-27 08:52:19-04

The community is coming together after a 9-year-old boy was tragically killed during a shooting at a north Phoenix home.

Landen Lavarnia was shot and killed last week at his home under unclear circumstances. However, the boy’s parents are charged with his murder.

Those who knew Landen are trying to cope with the tragedy.

“It’s really just setting in. Looking at his face—it’s (the situation) just horrible. But we want to make sure he’s laid to a peaceful rest," said Lindsey Becker, a family friend.

Sunday afternoon, friends of the Lavarnia family washed cars to raise money for Landen's funeral costs.

They say Landen was a good older brother who liked to help out.

“He was a really good kid; really good. Very respectful. Just very loving," said Robert Jovita, a family friend who organized the car wash.

Even strangers who were touched by the boy's death made donations Sunday.

“Even though I don’t know that family I decided to make a donation," said Mark Spaulding.

Back at the home where the tragedy unfolded, there’s now an outpouring of emotion at the doorstep with balloons, teddy bears, candles and flowers left by those who are missing Landen.

Police say Landen’s mother told them another child in the home accidentally fired the gun. But police say there are inconsistencies. They have not said who they believe shot Landen.

Meanwhile, friends are saying it’s a heartbreaking lesson learned the hard way.

“Guns should just be put away when kids are in the household. It’s a tragedy, and he will be missed," Becker said. 

Meanwhile, spring break is wrapping up for Landen's classmates and they'll be returning to Sahuaro Elementary School tomorrow. It'll be the first time the students are on campus since the boy's death.

The Washington Elementary School District said in a statement that they are deeply saddened by Landen’s death. They’ll have a crisis team at Sahuaro Elementary for the whole school. Social workers will even meet with second-grade students and be available the whole week.