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'Just the best of the best of the kids'; North Memphis neighborhood grieves shooting death of seven-year-old boy

Family identified child as Kelby Shorty, MPD said drive by shooter(s) still at large for crime that happened as children watched fireworks outside.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — A north Memphis neighborhood is grieving the loss of a 7-year-old boy, shot and killed last night while he and other children watched neighborhood 4th of July fireworks.

Family identified the child as Kelby Shorty, a rising second grader at Vollentine Optional School, who was visiting family when the shooting happened.

According to Memphis police, around 11 Sunday night, a shooter or shooters fired shots on the 700 block of N. Montgomery, off of Jackson Avenue.

Three people were hit - two adults and Shelby - and MPD said the suspects took off in a gray Mazda sedan. 

The two adults will be OK but Shelby did not survive.

Family and neighbors described the rising second grader a fun and sweet child who loved to play football.

During a candlelight vigil, which was held Monday night, Kelby's great aunt, Tosha Thomas, pleaded for someone to come forward with information:

"My grandson was so sweet, he was so sweet, he didn't bother nobody at all, just the sweetest, the sweetest," Shelby's grandmother Angela Stewart said. "I couldn't tell the difference in the fireworks they were popping off and the and the gunshots, it was all going off at the same time," she added.

Another neighbor said Shelby celebrated the holiday like a normal child in the hours before the shooting. 

"Yesterday, was his best day," Sandra Grigsby said. "I mean, we had a ball yesterday, he lit up all day yesterday, we was happy, he couldn't do much because he had his  boot on because he had stitches on his foot, he cut his feet. He watched the fireworks, we went to a pool party and he had a ball."

The deadly shooting of the child also angered neighborhood activist Jason Upshaw.

"Just trying to help slow down the violence, the gun violence, that was an innocent child and women that were hit that had nothing to do with nothing," Upshaw said.

If you have any information about this crime, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.


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