BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- Pastor Kenneth Adkins remembers when accused killer, De'Marquise Elkins, 17, attended his church with his grandmother and sisters.
"His grandmother and his two sisters at that point we were trying to help him kind of walk him through some things," said Pastor Kenneth Adkins, Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship.
According to Adkins, Elkins was a troubled kid, defiant and wouldn't listen to authority.
After hearing that Elkins and another teenager were accused of the murder of a 13 month-old boy, Antonio Santiago, he immediately felt responsible.
"I personally believe that this is really an indictment to me as a pastor, I believe I failed. Was I too busy three years ago to see this? Was I so caught up in trying to grow the church?" said Adkins.
Adkins has publicly apologized to Sherry West, Antonio's mother. He says the tragedy has left the community shell-shocked.
Since the shooting, a make-shift memorial has been set up at the intersection of Ellis Street and London Street where the murder took place. West says she's received an outpouring of support from the community.
"Some of the community has been here, people call me a lot and the American people have been great in supporting me [with] their prayers and their kind thoughts," said Sherry West, victim.
Although no amount of support can ever bring Antonio back, Adkins prays the tragedy can at least bring the community closer together.
"I'm hoping this becomes a wake-up call that people can get involved and do better," said Adkins.
The society of Saint Vincent De Paul has set up a trust fund for Sherry West.
You can send non tax deductible donations to:
Sherry Lynn West Trust
1217 Newcastle Street
Brunswick, GA 31520