WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (localmemphis.com) — A 16-year-old West Memphis boy was shot and killed while playing video games in his grandmother’s house Friday.
It’s the fourth homicide in West Memphis this week. West Memphis Police are now working tirelessly to crack down on the influx of violent crimes.
West Memphis Police Assistant Chief Robert Langston says right now there is a major gun problem in the city and it’s taking innocent lives.
Family members identified the victim in Friday morning’s shooting as Taylon Vail. West Memphis Police say the shooting happened at a home in the 2000 block of East Harrison.
Vail was a standout basketball player and honor roll student at West Junior High School. Jeremiah Matthews fought back tears as he talked about some of the last moments he spent with his friend.
“We were close, we did everything together,” Matthews explained. “We spent a lot of time at his house. I was just with him yesterday and we were driving together.”
Vail was actually playing video games at his grandmother’s house when bullets started hitting the home. One bullet went through the wall, killing the teen.
Police and family members say that Vail was not the intended target, but they don’t know yet who pulled the trigger. It’s the latest in a string of unsolved murders.
“Four deaths have happened within one week and my heart just goes out to the young people. They need much help, much mentoring, much prayer,” said family friend Desonia Matthews.
“A week ago at this time we were at two homicides which isn’t great, but it was well under where we were at this time last year. And then we had Saturday,” said West Memphis Assistant Police Chief Robert Langston.
Last weekend, three people were killed, and investigators have been busy solving those crimes too.
“The bigger picture is there’s a gun issue in West Memphis, this time last year, we’ve taken 20 something guns off the street, already this year we are approaching 100.
With the latest killing taking the life of an innocent 16-year-old, the community is upset. They don’t want their family members to be next.
“It’s bad, too many people getting killed…by killing our own kind,” Matthews said.
Crittenden County Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest on either of the homicide cases from last Saturday and from Friday morning. If you have any information, please call West Memphis Police.