Editors Note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Friday, November 27, 2009

In Memory of Makayla

Jim Sitton and Makayla

You can cover a thousand tragedies and never think the lens will turn on you. But life doesn't work that way. For proof, look no further than Jupiter, Florida - where veteran television photojournalist Jim Sitton finds himself on a side of the glass he never imagined. It began late last night when a troubled family member opened fire in the WPTV staffer's home. When the sound of gunshots faded, four people lay dead, including Jim and Muriel's only child, 6 year old Makayla Sitton. Reports differ on what led to the shooting, but at this point the details hardly matter. What does matter is a respected member of the photog nation is dealing with unspeakable loss. And he's showing profound composure. Early this morning, Sitton stepped before news crews he no doubt knew to address the death of his daughter.

"God has blessed us with this beautiful girl, and he just took her home a little bit earlier than we wanted," he said, struggling to hold back tears. "God packed a lot of sweetness into that little body."

I've never met Jim Sitton in person, but through on-line pleasantries, I know him to be a man of unshakable faith. That's not a trait I particularly share. Still, watching a fellow photog and Father use what he knows to be true to get through such darkness...well, it's enough to makes even a skeptic like me believe. Jim Sitton's been described as 'the heart and soul of the photography staff at WPTV'. Here's hoping his friends there will close rank around him as he and his family struggle to grasp the loss of their angel.
Federal marshals have launched a manhunt for 35-year-old Michael Merhige, the family member police say shot his twin sisters, an elderly aunt and his six year old niece Makayla. He fled in a blue 4-door Toyota Camry with Florida tag W42-7JT. Authorities consider him armed and dangerous. Hell ain't got a room hot enough.


Anonymous said...

Prayers to the entire family.

Anonymous said...

That is just awful. Prayers to his family. Being the father of two little girls, I just cant imagine the pain he and his wife are going through.

One thing, your post says she was six months old, then it says six years.

Anonymous said...

Jim is such a good man.

When something like this happens to him, it means it can happen to anyone.

And that is the most frightening thing of all.

May God bless him and his family. Keeping them strong and together through this terrible time.

crookedpaw said...

I've tried all day to think of something appropriate to say at a time like this.....there are no words. My thoughts and prayers are with he and his family as they struggle to make some sense of this.
Be strong, Jim and know that we all care. Dick Carney

Anonymous said...

5 people dead (an unborn baby)

6 yr old Makayla Sitton was the only child of Muriel Sitton. Jim Sitton also has a 28 yr old son, Jason who was in the house for thanksgiving.

Thank you for all the photog support!

jim sitton