After he went to the circus two years ago, Jamarcus Allen developed an admiration for elephants. Everywhere he went, he carried an elephant keychain. It became dirty with age, said his mother, Jamella Palmer, but was no less loved.
Always on the move, four-year-old Jamarcus often threw a football around the house or outdoors. He couldn't wait to own a pair of cleats or grow up to become a professional football player. He enjoyed going to day care and liked to surprise his friends with treats: When he was at the supermarket or toy store he would ask his mother, "Can you get the kids something?" Like any child, Jamarcus liked sweets, but he actually preferred fruit, especially oranges, strawberries, and grapes. He was looking forward to starting kindergarten this coming September.
Each night before bed, Jamarcus requested for his mother to read him a story. He particularly enjoyed hearing Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham." He knew his ABCs and could count to 50. Although he was a fan of Batman and Spider-Man, he chose to dress up as a pirate last year for Halloween because he was fascinated by swords. "He would have you smiling all of the time," his mother told msnbc.com. "Everything he did he wanted to do it right now."
Jamarcus was shot and killed while riding in a car with his father in Akron, Ohio, on Jan. 23.