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‘This violence needs to stop’: Family reacts to shooting death of 16-year-old in North Memphis

This marks 25 children killed in Memphis this year, according to MPD
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 5:20 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There are still remnants of a crime scene on Hunter Street in North Memphis where a shooting took place during a funeral procession.

Sixteen-year-old Emmit Beasley was pronounced dead at the scene, and Beasley’s 15-year-old cousin was admitted into the hospital in critical condition.

The suspects were seen fleeing the scene in a black Jeep.

“I never thought my son would be gunned down at another child’s funeral,” said Chasity Graham, Beasley’s mother.

Graham was with her son when the shots rang out, saying the funeral was for a friend of Beasley’s and that they were there to pay their respects.

“The child’s casket was loaded onto a horse-drawn carriage. It was kids following behind the casket in the funeral procession. Personally, I was in my car behind the walking kids. I heard gunshots ring out. I went to help, not knowing my son was laying in the street dead,” Graham said.

Beasley was a junior at Southwind High School.

Graham said her son was just a normal kid.

“He went to work, he went to school, and he wrote his music and went to the studio,” Graham said.

It’s a hard thing to talk about after something so tragic, but Graham was still so proud of her son’s up-and-coming rap career.

Beasley had just auditioned with 1017 Records, founded by Gucci Mane, for a record deal just a week before he was killed.

All of that potential is now lost from what Graham calls senseless violence.

Beasley’s death is now number 25 in child homicides in Memphis this year, according to Memphis police.

Eighteen of those have been murders with seven being negligent homicides.

“[Beasley] was like a father figure to my son,” said Beasley’s sister, Alina Cook. “I’m taking it day by day. It’s sad because I have to sit here and tell a two-year-old ‘your uncle is not coming back.’”

Beasley’s other sister, Jada Butler, drove from Georgia to be with Graham and echoed what many in the community are saying about her brother.

“He was really my best friend, and I love him,” Butler said. “If I ever needed anything, he was my first call. I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.”

For now, Graham’s priority is burying her son, but in the near future, she intends to be an advocate to lower gun violence in Memphis and Shelby County.

“Justice needs to be done. These guns need to come off the streets. This violence needs to stop,” Graham said. “I do not want another child’s life taken senselessly, senselessly like my son.”

Anyone with information into this crime is asked to call Crime sStoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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