Childersburg shooting victim's family wants justice
by Mark Ledbetter
CHILDERSBURG — Roderick Hamilton’s mother, Mary Hamilton, and his aunt, Bettye Johnson, said Wednesday they are still mourning his death.

Hamilton, 36, was shot and killed shortly after midnight Dec. 3 at the Kangaroo Pantry in Childersburg. He was airlifted to University Hospital in Birmingham, where he was pronounced dead.

Childersburg Police Chief Shane Burnette said the police officer involved in the incident is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting.

The night of Dec.7, before Hamilton’s funeral the next day, several family members and friends met at the recreational area in the Pleasant Valley subdivision behind Kangaroo Pantry and marched to the service station for a candle light vigil and prayer.

Johnson, a Childersburg resident, said the purpose of the march was “due to the fact that Childersburg police had taken another life, and there was no justice on his cousin’s life, this is one that we are not giving up on.”

Johnson said Hamilton’s first cousin, Tony Edward Martin Jr., was shot Oct. 12, 2008, by a Childersburg police officer, who was not indicted by a Talladega County grand jury.

“There’s got to be a stopping point,” Johnson said. “Childersburg police, not only them but all police officers, are to protect and serve, and if you can’t get that from police officers, then where can you get it?”

Referring to Hamilton’s death, Johnson said. “They (police officers) was suppose to have proper training to handle situations like that. If he thought there was a weapon, that is understandable — you do what you have to do, but he never had a weapon as of this day.

“He was pepper sprayed and couldn’t see. It is my understanding he took his T-shirt to wipe his eyes. I can’t understand how he could be physical with the officer,” Johnson said.

Hamilton is survived by a son, 18, who lives in Massachusetts, and a daughter, 9, who lives in Shelby County.

“He was a hard worker,” Hamilton’s mother said. Johnson said Hamilton worked for S & H Steel in Vincent.

“He kept a job, was independent, clean-cut, had a nice personality, and loving,” Johnson said. “I will not label him as perfect, but he was not a bad person. He was brought up to be respectful.”

Mary Hamilton said she spoke with her son every day, some days calling several times.

She said she isn’t coping with the situation very well.

“I’m not coping,” she said. “It is so odd, so very odd.”

“That could have been anybody’s child, and if it was someone else’s child, they would feel the same way, you have to have justice,” Johnson said. “God is too wise to make a mistake and too just to be wrong.

“I don’t want to see another child lost to someone that is supposed to protect us. This is the kind of thing people who have no purpose (do).”

In a press release, Kangaroo Corporate Office’s public relations spokesman Steve Yates said the corporation is fully cooperating with the police investigation and store employees were not involved in the shooting, which occurred outside the store.

Sgt. Steve Jarrett, public information officer for the Alabama Department of Public Safety, released a statement saying the case is still open. “Once the ABI takes a case of this nature, it will typically be turned over to the district attorney within 60 days. Details of these cases are not released except to the D.A.”

Talladega County Assistant District Attorney Christina Kilgore said once the District Attorney’s Office receives the report it will be reviewed and then determined whether the case will be handled by the local department or turned over to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Burnette said all evidence and information regarding the case has been turned over to the Alabama Bureau of Investigations and his department is fully cooperating in their investigation.

“We are not allowed to discuss the case because we are not the one handling it,” Burnette said.

Mary Hamilton, a Massachusetts resident, said her immediate plans are to remain in Childersburg for a while.

“I will stay until justice is done,” she said.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at

© 2012