CLINTON, Mo. — A Clinton, Missouri, mother witnessed her child’s death while her own father is now accused of pulling the trigger.
“I have no words to explain. My baby left too soon. He really, he did,” said Melissa Ribby, mother of 16-year-old Royce Hayes Osburn.
Family and witnesses said there was past conflict between the teen and his grandfather, but they never expected any argument to end with a shooting.
According to newly released court documents, 70-year-old Thomas Ribby told investigators he didn’t know his gun had a bullet in the chamber.
But family told FOX4 it still doesn’t explain why he aimed the gun at his grandson.
The elder Ribby is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond following the Sunday shooting, described as a tragedy affecting three generations: a grandfather arrested, a grandson killed, and that teen’s mother caught in the middle.
“I don’t even want to see him. He’s not my dad. He’s not my dad at all. I don’t ever want to talk to him again. And I don’t care if he burns in hell. I don’t care,” Melissa Ribby said.
“He should have never done that to a child. My child deserved more than that. If he wanted to kill somebody, turn around and do it to yourself. I’m sorry. That’s the way I feel,” Melissa Ribby said.
On Tuesday, a Clinton police officer searched for the slug that passed through Osburn’s body.
His family said the teen’s dream in life was to be a police officer. The detail gives context to a statement Thomas Ribby gave to investigators, outlined in court documents.
“Ribby stated he provided the Glock to the victim to play with earlier in the evening,” charging documents filed Tuesday say.
Another witness said they “observed the victim playing with the firearm and pretended he was clearing rooms,” according to court records.
Later there was the gunshot. Osburn went to his mother, “entered her bedroom clutching his chest and stated ‘papa shot me,'” according to court documents.
“My baby died in my arms,” Melissa Ribby said.
According to court documents, Osburn’s grandfather locked himself in his apartment when police arrived.
Neighbors said they were evacuated.
“I swear, that must have been the most firepower I’d ever seen in one place,” said Lilith Grace Morningstar, who heard the gunshot.
“[Melissa] was wailing her head off and everything. So (I) open the door just a crack to see what’s going on. Then I thought ‘Jesus Christ’ because there was blood all over the place,” Morningstar said.
Once arrested Thomas Ribby told investigators he didn’t know a bullet was in the chamber and “stated he shot the victim in the back. Ribby continually stated that he had not been fighting with the victim prior to the incident,” according to court documents.
The Ribby family said it’s all compounding trauma.
“I grew up with this kid ever since I was a baby. So, like, it’s really hard,” said Honesty Cox, Royce’s cousin.
“And my aunt died like three years ago. So like he found my aunt dead. And we went through like the same [expletive] and it’s like he’s gone now so I have no one to talk to about it,” Cox said.
The family has created a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses.