CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV)- It was exactly one year ago tonight. That 14-year old Malcolm Ruth was shot outside his home on Mumford Lane in north Charlotte.
Police say he was hit in the chest at point blank range.
He ran into his house, told his parents he'd been shot, then collapsed.
By the time the ambulance arrived, he was gone.
In the Ruth home a Christmas tree sits in the corner. There are no presents underneath it though. Ronnie Ruth hoping for the gift he'll never see. His son Malcom to come walking through the door again. A year ago tonight the 14 year old High School athlete was lifting weights in front of his North Charlotte home when someone walked up shot him in the chest. Police didn't have to look far for the killer.
"This young man lives right next door to us." Ronnie told WBTV's Rob Tufano
He is no young man he is an 11 year old child who got a hold of his father's gun.
"When you take a human life that's the ultimate crime."
He deserves the ultimate penalty according to Ruth, but the boy pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. A judge agreed essentially the kid didn't know what he was doing therefore no jail time. Tonight a father is still looking for justice.
"Any kid can go out and get his father's gun and murder another kid and nothing's gonna happen." Ruth said
As bad as losing a son in such a senseless way. Ruth's other children aren't doing any better. His daughter Crystal cries a lot. Malcom's twin brother used to be a clean cut kid who played sports got straight A's. A year later he's withdrawn and flunking school.
"Now that he's gone I can't focus like when he was here."
And if he ever needs a reminder of who gunned down his brother. He simply has to walk next door.
Ronnie Ruth says they have to look forward and can't change the past but he still worries this kid's free tonight.
"Something like this is gonna happen with him again."