Paulding County Honors Life of 11-Year-Old Zander Whatley Slain in Shooting

Paulding County, Georgia residents are preparing to commemorate the life of an 11-year-old boy tragically killed in a shooting at his home in April. Zander Whatley will be honored with a balloon release on Friday in anticipation of his 12th birthday, followed by a funeral on Saturday. The community will gather at Rockmart High School for the balloon release at 6 p.m., while the public viewing and celebration of life service will take place the next day at the school’s gymnasium.

On the night of April 29, Shareeda Alexander Dorsey, her husband, and nine of their 13 children were present in their home when they were startled by gunshots. Alexander-Dorsey recalled instructing her children to take cover while she dialed 911. Sadly, Whatley was struck by a bullet as he attempted to reach the safety of the upstairs area. Despite being rushed to a nearby hospital, he succumbed to his injuries.

As authorities continue to search for Whatley’s killer, the family suspects a possible connection between the shooter and one of the boy’s older siblings. William Dorsey, Whatley’s stepfather, revealed that the perpetrator may have been upset over the boy’s friendship with another individual. Whatley, a fifth-grader known for his love of school and singing, was described by his family as a cheerful child who cherished his faith.

The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia Bureau of Investigation have urged anyone with information regarding the shooting to come forward anonymously through the Paulding Sheriff’s Office tip line or mobile app. Despite the devastating loss of Whatley, his family is determined to seek justice and closure in the wake of this tragedy.

In the face of unimaginable grief, the community is rallying around the Whatley family, offering support and solidarity as they navigate this heartbreaking ordeal. The upcoming events to honor Zander Whatley serve as a poignant reminder of the impact he had on those around him and the void left by his untimely passing.