Community reacts to 8-year-old shot, killed as juvenile homicides increase in Memphis

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 5:15 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis police continue to investigate after an 8-year-old girl was shot and killed in a Memphis apartment complex Sunday night.

Memphis police say they do have a suspect in mind for this shooting but they have not made any arrests thus far.

This most recent murder of a child is continuing a disturbing trend in the city of Memphis this year. Witnesses say dozens of gunshots rang out Sunday night at the Highland Chateau Apartment complex.

One of those bullets hit and killed an innocent 8-year-old girl.

“What do you tell that mother this morning? Her baby is gone,” said Stevie Moore of FFUN. “Didn’t do nothing wrong, just eight years old.”

Moore, the founder of the Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives organization has spoken with WMC Action News 5 repeatedly over the past year.

Earlier this month, 11-year-old Ta-shun Hardrick was killed in a drive-by shooting.

In September, a 12-year-old was shot and killed.

“Too many parents are burying their kids,” said Moore.

The Memphis Police Department says 32 juveniles have been killed violently this year, as the city continues to break a record for the number of homicides.

That is a sharp rise over 2019, when MPD says 16 juveniles were killed violently throughout the entire year.

Moore says he’s been extremely frustrated this year and is continuing to search for answers on how these crimes can be stopped.

“It’s disturbing, it’s disgusting, it’s frustrating,” said Moore. “We have got to wake up Memphis.”

“I have no idea why this is happening. Because it should not be happening,” said Tina Gray with the Shelby County Crime Victims and Rape Crisis Center.

Gray says there is no easy answer on how to reduce or prevent violence against children.

“We have to hold those individuals accountable for their actions,” she said. “But we have to work together.”

With an increase in juvenile homicides this year, one licensed professional counselor says children can experience increased stress or even trauma hearing about these horrific crimes, especially if they knew a victim or were exposed to the violence.

“We want to meet our children where they are,” said Dr. Rebekah Lemmons, Clinical Content Manager for Youth Villages. “And that might look like taking time to talk if they are willing to talk. That’s also even if the child doesn’t want to talk at that time, that we’re going to continue to monitor their behaviors.”

Moore says he plans to reach out to the family of this girl who has not yet been publicly identified.

He also plans to call and write political representatives asking again for tougher sentences for gun crimes and more regulation for ammunition.

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