Two children are dead. Another child is fighting for her life. All three accidentally shot themselves over the weekend.
Cordero Wilhite was arrested and charged with reckless homicide in the death of his 8-year-old son DeAundre Shannon. The boy died Sunday on Parkland Road. Police say Wilhite left the gun on a bed within reach of his son and another child.
Gari Settles is now facing reckless homicide charges in the death of his 4-year-old son, Gavin, who died after shooting himself on Hickory Way in East Memphis Saturday night. Police say Gavin found the gun in the armrest of a sofa sectional.
Friday, a 4-year-old-girl shot herself on Egan Drive. She’s still in the hospital.
Memphis police say each child accidentally shot themselves while playing with an unsecured, unlocked gun. They want to stress the importance of storing your gun in a safe place where little ones can’t get to it. But it’s also important to lock the gun itself.
You can get a free gun lock at any MPD precinct, or you can buy your own at most sporting goods stores and gun shops.
“Go to one of your stores, sporting goods stores that sells these things,” says MPD firearms instructor Officer Marion Hannah. “As a parent, it’s heartbreaking to turn on the television to hear someone’s child has shot themselves simply because they’re playing with a gun, an unsecured unlocked gun.”
Law enforcement officials say accidental shootings involving children have become a troubling trend in Memphis compared to the rest of Tennessee.
A recent study found in 2016 Memphis ranked first among large cities in unintentional shootings of children.