Keller McQuay, a 14-year-old Racine boy accused of killing his 14-year-old girlfriend with a sawed off shotgun, rarely looked up Monday during his initial appearance in front Racine County Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch.

Vista Jackson, was shot and killed Thursday at McQuay’s residence in the 1000 block of Albert Street. McQuay’s court appearance Monday was the first time Jackson’s family had learned that she was killed with a sawed off shotgun.

“What the community should do — and all over this country — is get these guns out of the hands of all of these kids, and that would dramatically reduce crime all over this country,” said Will Crockett, Jackson’s grandfather, outside the courtroom. “Background checks probably won’t help with a crime of passion.”

Crockett sees the shooting as a crime of passion and that it can happen to just about anyone.

But David Z. Williams, Sr., McQuay’s stepfather, told Racine County Eye at a vigil for Vista over the weekend that he doesn’t believe the shooting was intentional. He doesn’t know where McQuay got the gun, but he believes members of a street gang may have had something to do with his stepson arming himself.

Wendell Jackson, Vista’s dad, said knowing where McQuay got the shotgun wouldn’t change anything.

McQuay was charged as an adult by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office on Monday with first degree reckless homicide, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle. If convicted of all charges, McQuay faces up to 76-year in prison, and/or fines up to $35,000.

According to the criminal complaint, McQuay shot Jackson with a sawed off shotgun. McQuay’s step-sister was coming home when she saw her step brother running out of the house saying: “Oh my God, I just shot Vista!”

When the girl went inside McQuay’s house, she found Vista laying on the floor with a gunshot wound to her neck and face. The girl asked McQuay where the gun was and he told her he had it and he needed to leave. He fled the area before police arrived.

McQuay’s sister was inside the home at the time of the shooting, but she didn’t see it happen. She was in the kitchen and could hear Jackson singing. She told McQuay that she loved him and he told her that he loved her. The girl told police she then heard “a pop” and McQuay ran into the kitchen and said, “Vista.”

Vista was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, but she died Thursday night. Police arrested McQuay in a nearby home Friday, and a resident who was mowing the lawn said she found a sawed off shotgun. The gun had a .22 caliber bolt action and had a barrel length less than 16 inches.

McQuay is being held on a $250,000 bond and is expected to have a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 23.

 

 

 

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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