Witness: Toy dropped on toe might have triggered shooter’s action

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 20, 2010

If there were two things in the world that Curtis “Curt-man” Alexander Ruede loved, it was Spiderman and fishing.

Kimberly Harris, his mother, spoke Monday about her 4-year-old son who was shot and killed by her brother, John Curtis Davis, Friday.

She said the child was staying with her mother in Opp “visiting.” She had seen him three days before.

“He was sitting on the bed watching Sponge bob,” she said. “And now he’s gone.”

Described as a “quiet, timid” boy, family members said “Curt-man” was an average 4 year old. He was smart and loved to play outside, Harris said.

And his family is left wondering about the “how” and the “why” of his death after he was shot point blank in the chest with a pellet gun by his uncle.

Chris Harris, Kimberly’s oldest brother, was in the house when the incident occurred. While he didn’t witness the incident first hand, Harris gave this account of how the boy died.

“Curtis was playing with a toy and dropped it on (Davis’) foot,” he said. “(Davis) got mad and went to the gun shelf, loaded it and held it 2-inches away from (the boy’s) chest and shot him.”

Chris said he heard the boy’s yell, and that was when Davis ran into the kitchen with the boy in his arms. There were five people in the house that day – Harris, Davis, Ruede, an unidentified aunt and Kimberly Harris’ 1-year-old son.

Kimberly Harris and fiance, Charles “Marty” Beasley of Andalusia, pose with a photo of Curtis Ruede.

Minutes after the family called 911, an ambulance rushed the boy to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Mom Kimberly said she, fiancé Charles “Marty” Beasley, and his children were on their way to Florala to go swimming when she got the call.

“They said I needed to get to the Opp hospital right away, that Curtis had been shot,” she said. “When I got there, the doctor told me they did everything they could, but he was sorry that we lost him.

“It shattered my world,” she said.

Now, the entire family is grieving – not only over the loss of a small child, but also the loss of the person young Curtis called “Uncle John.”

None of the family has been allowed to see Davis, who now faces a capital murder charge, and in turn, potentially the death penalty.

Michelle Harris described her nephew as “having mental problems, but knowing the difference between right and wrong.”

“This is the most confusing thing,” Michelle Harris said. “I want to be mad at him. I want to choke him, but then on the other hand, I helped raise him, and I want to run to him.

“He knows what a gun can do,” she said. “Whether or not he intended to kill, he knows what a gun does and what it can do to hurt a child regardless.

“I love him, and I hate him because he took Curtis.”

Kimberly Harris said she can’t bear to know the details of what happened that day.

“I just know my son is gone,” she said. “We (Harris and Davis) had a typical brother-sister relationship. We stood up for one another. I loved him, but I don’t want to know what happened that day. I’m scared I’ll hate him for it.”