ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — John Creary is struggling with forgiveness. He’s grappling with a dead grandson and a son accused in the death.
“I just want to forget it,” Creary said, his voice catching. “And probably anything that reminds me of him.”
The Creary family is grieving the loss of 2-year-old Armani Creary. St. Petersburg police said Armani’s father, Aaron, shot the young boy on Saturday during an argument with his parents.
“This is a nightmare,” Creary said, crying. “I’m still not believing it. I don’t know when I will.”
Officials said — and surveillance footage obtained by 8 On Your Side confirms — Aaron then crashed his car into an auto repair shop on his way to the hospital.
“You see a gentleman walking around with a baby lifeless in his arms,” said Ernesto Grajales, a witness to the crash.
Grajales lives across the street from the scene of the crash and heard the tire squeal when it all happened.
“What we saw was just a sad situation,” Grajales recalled. “The father, carrying his son’s lifeless body. I felt sorry for him.”
Surveillance video from the auto repair shop appeared to show Aaron jumping out of the car with Armani in his arms after the crash, running away, then running toward a red pickup truck in the intersection. Aaron appears to speak with the driver, then run away, then give the baby to a woman.
“A lady came out, was trying to do CPR on the baby,” Grajales remembered. “It was a lot of chaos, confusion and at the end of the day, it was a lot of sadness. It actually made me cry.”
John Creary said the wounds are still fresh.
“[Armani] lights up a room,” Creary said of the baby boy. “He already had his personality developed. You know, he was a serious dude.”
Creary believes the shooting was not on purpose — he said he was in the room when it happened.
“I know it was an accident, and I know you wouldn’t do anything to harm your child,” Creary said. “But it was wrong. There’s no masking what you did.”
Creary hasn’t spoken to his son since the shooting.
“I don’t think I could talk,” Creary said. “Be in the same room with him.”
Police said Armani died at a local hospital. Creary said he spent the night at the police station.
Now, his Memorial Days will forever be tinged with a special kind of remembrance.
“Just one of those kids that you just love,” Creary said. “That’s all.”
Armani is survived by his twin sister, Abrianna. 22-year-old Aaron Creary is charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and violation of probation.