Family, community mourn boy killed at Maymont

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jun 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-14 23:41:37-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR) -- A dark cloud of sadness hangs over First Pentecostal Church in Chesterfield. The congregation is mourning the loss of one if its youngest and smallest members.

Four-year-old Shawn Wills was killed at Maymont Park by a massive 100-foot poplar tree that fell on him during Thursday's storms.

"I can't imagine the pain they are going through," said Associate Pastor Jason Forbush. "I can't imagine the heart ache of the family. We are trying to fight back emotions."

Forbush says the churches phone lines have been ringing off the hook with offers to help.

"The family was really loved here at the church. No matter what they have an army of people to help them at any time," he said.

Shawn was visiting Maymont with his father, John, and brother, Caleb, at the time of the accident.

John Wills' best friend, Michael Robinson, prayed with the father and mother, Rebecca, in the hospital hours after their son's death.

"It is devastating.Everyone's hearts are broken. We are going to cry together we are going to pray together. We will go through this as a church family," Robinson said.

He fondly recalls Shawn and his family being fixtures at the church or feeding the homeless on weekends at Monroe Park.

"Just Sunday night Caleb and Shawn were under the pew playing with my three kids," Robinson said.

Robinson said he is waiting to break the sad news to his three children.

"We will find a way to let them know Sean is in the hands of the Lord," Robinson said.

Forbush anticipates many tears at this weekend's church service. The sanctuary was a place where little Shawn Wills found himself every Sunday with his loving family.

"It comes at a very difficult time because Sunday is Father's Day," Forbush said. "It is going to be something emotional for me. It is going to be difficult in some ways, but it's also going to be reflective."

Stay with CBS 6 News for the most complete coverage of this important local story.