16-year-old boy shot in the back on New Willow Road

Published: May. 5, 2016 at 1:55 AM CDT|Updated: May. 5, 2016 at 9:45 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Family members were distraught after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the back and killed Wednesday.

Witnesses told police the victim, who relatives identified as Terrance Smith Jr., was with two or three friends near the intersection of Getwell Road and New Willow Road. Just before 10 p.m., shots rang out and the group dispersed.

Smith was running from gunfire when a bullet hit him in the back. He became the 78th homicide victim in Memphis in 2016, and the 17 child to be killed in the first 19 weeks of the year.

"It had to be a coward, because he shot him in the back," Smith's stepfather, Eric Webster, said. "They took a child's life."

Family members said he was a sophomore at Overton High School and lived in a nearby apartment complex.

"He was a funny child, that's all he do," Smith's aunt, Shirley Snow, who helped raised the teen from the time he was 5 years old, said. "He was like, 'Auntie, what you got for me?' I ain't got nothing for you, boy. And I just seen him yesterday when I took him to school, me and his mama."

People who live and work in the area said they hear gunshots too often. Smith's family is now left asking why the violence continues.

"They need to stop all this killing out here--unnecessary," Snow said.

"It's hurts, it hurts," Webster said. "Terrified through my heart because I preached to him. I loved him. I love him. I love him just like...if I was his real dad."

Webster said Smith wanted to be part of the football and track teams, was a good swimmer, and loved riding his bike.

Witnesses said they heard the gunshots, then almost immediately saw people react to Smith being shot.

"I just heard a gunshot, and within five minutes we see some people gathered over there," Garry Singh said.

Singh works across the street from where Smith was shot and said Smith was a regular customer. He said people being shot and killed is a much too frequent occurrence in the area.

"It is, it's kind of scary, you know," Singh said. "But, what to do? We have to work, you know."

It's unclear at this time whether Smith was the intended target of the shooting. It's unclear who shot Smith, but Webster calls the killer a coward for shooting his stepson in the back, and said his friends are just as bad for running away and leaving him dying in the street.

"What he did behind our back, I don't know," Smith said. "But I know he didn't deserve to die like that."

"They need to stop, they need to do something about this," Snow said. "Kids killing kids."

Police do not have any suspect information at this time.

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