1 toddler dead, 1 critical in weekend shootings


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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- One toddler is dead and another is fighting for her life in the hospital after two accidental shootings in less than 24 hours.

The father of the boy who was killed has been charged with reckless homicide.

Friday night, police said a 4-year-old girl was accidentally shot in the neck in Fox Meadows while she was home with her father and two other kids. Investigators haven't yet said who pulled the trigger.

She underwent surgery at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and, at last check, was in critical condition.

No one has been arrested in that case.

"It shouldn’t be going down like that," said Justin Bonner, who lives next door to the child killed Saturday. "They [guns] shouldn’t be around children period, and it’s just sad knowing that they’re able to get ahold of these things."

Then Saturday night, police say a toddler got ahold of his father's gun and accidentally shot himself. He died a few hours later.

The boy's father, Gari Settles, 38, has been charged with reckless homicide.

In 2008, Settles spent nearly a year in jail for public intoxication and possession of a handgun while intoxicated.

Bonner recalls his apartment complex being swarmed with more than 20 officers Saturday night.

"[There was] caution tape, people couldn’t get on this road," he said.

It’s a tragedy he said never should have happened.

"It could have been prevented a lot of ways," he said.

Last year, the Associated Press and the USA Today Network found that Memphis ranks first in the nation in unintentional shootings of kids.

So far this year, eight kids have accidentally shot themselves or someone else, according to the Safe Tennessee Project.

"Just look after your children and stay focused, and if you do have a weapon or anything, keep it up, keep it out range," Bonner said.

Settles is in jail on a $20,000 bond. He's scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday morning.

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