By Marty Griffin

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — He was a beautiful boy with a beautiful smile.

Gavin Thompson called himself a little police officer. He had a badge just like daddy’s pinned to his clothing in his casket.

He died a year ago this Saturday. Nothing in this home has been easy since.

“It was just an awful accident – that’s what it was,” Sherrin Thompson, Gavin’s mother, said.

The unimaginable horror of living with the death of your 5-year-old son, then the arrest of your husband played out in the Thompson home each day.

“I don’t have to pack up his clothes or put his teddy bears away,” she said. “I want to look at those things.”

In the back bedroom where the shooting happened, the door is locked. No one enters.

Sherrin Thompson sleeps on a chair in the family room covered in Gavin’s pillow case, sheets and stuffed animal.

John Thompson sleeps on a couch a few feet away. There are photos and reminders everywhere. There was a birthday party a week ago for Gavin with balloons, a cake and gifts.

And there has been criticism of online postings celebrating such things as Gavin’s first day of kindergarten in heaven.

“You can’t just pack up their stuff and put it away and you can’t not celebrate his birthday or you can’t not have his toy – you can’t do that,” Sherrin said. “He existed.”

Now it gets tougher. There are four other children in the house and dad faces five counts of reckless endangerment charges.

He goes on trial in early December and could spend years in jail.

Prosecutors say he is a cop – should know better. As a result, his son is dead and he needs to be punished.

“I don’t know. I think positive and I know in my heart that Gavin is watching over him and protecting his father and protecting all of us. The only thing you can rely on is prayer and hope.”

Meantime, Sherrin Thompson’s mission is as clear as the smile on the face of a five-year-old boy.

“His laughter, his smile, running around climbing the apple trees, swimming – that’s my goal in this lifetime – to make sure that he’s not forgotten,” she said.

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