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Update: Boy, 14, charged with murder in shooting of 21-year-old army reservist

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A 14-year-old boy was charged Saturday in the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old college student and army reservist in northeast Atlanta.

Mr. Xavier Arnold was shot to death during an armed robbery in Atlanta’s Kirkwood community Thursday night, according to Atlanta police.

Police have not released any information on the teenage suspect, including his name, since he is a juvenile.

But the 14-year-old was charged with felony murder and armed robbery, police spokesman Sgt. Gregory Lyon said.

The shooting happened around 5:40 p.m. when Mr. Arnold, his girlfriend and another friend were on a bike trail at 255 Rogers St., police said.

The trio had planned to take pictures of graffiti on the trail when they were approached by two suspects, according to police.

A confrontation ensued and the suspects shot Mr. Arnold in the head and his friend in the leg as Mr. Arnold’s girlfriend watched, police said.

Both men were transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where Mr. Arnold died from his injuries.

“It’s just devastating,” family friend Mr. Rodney Reid told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You see these stories on the news or read them in the paper, and they touch your heart. But you have not an inkling of a clue until it hits your family or a friend.”

Mr. Arnold graduated from Chamblee High School in 2010 and enrolled in the Savannah College of Art and Design, as well as enlisted in the Army Reserves, the paper reported.

“He was striving,” Mr. Reid said. “He was trying to find his way. He was a person that really loved life.”

It’s unclear what the suspects stole.

But Mr. Reid said his friend had no money in his wallet and a cell phone that didn’t work.

Mr. Arnold had recently moved home from Savannah, where he was attending school, and planned to attend classes at the Atlanta campus, Mr. Reid said.

A talented artist, Mr. Arnold had the ability to look at something and draw it, and often amazed his family with his creativity. But in the reserves, he worked as an engineer, Mr. Reid said.

Late Friday, his family was planning his funeral while residents of the Kirkwood community rallied to fight violence in their neighborhood.

“My family was on the trail just a couple of hours before that, and it’s a common trail that we walk down and bike down,” Mr. Patrick Peyer told Channel 2 Action News. “We should not have to live in fear.”

“They’re going to get caught, and when they do, their lives are gonna be over,” Mr. Reid said.

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