12-year-old victim identified in deadly North Memphis shooting

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A youth football coach says the juvenile victim of a deadly drive-by shooting in North Memphis was a member of his team.

Ta’shun Hardrick, 12, died at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital after he was shot Wednesday on Looney, coach Kevin Jones with the Memphis Cowboys youth football team said Thursday.

Police said the shooting happened around 4 p.m. in the 800 block of Looney, east of Danny Thomas. No one has been arrested.

Jones said Hardrick was just like every other kid — he loved football, hanging out with friends, and had a bright future ahead of him. Unfortunately, he says that future was taken away far too soon.

“Ta’shun was a great young man. Very energetic, known throughout the community. You would often see him riding his bike throughout the community,” he said.

Jones says he first met Hardrick when he was about 9 years old. Hardrick was sitting outside the Sexton Community Center with his cousin waiting on Jones because he wanted to be a part of the football team. From there, Jones said, it was history.

“He was a comedian actually,” Jones said. “He was well liked by all of his teammates. They often joked and played around and doing what boys do. It’s just going to be a great loss to us.”

Jones described the area where Hardrick was killed as a rough neighborhood.

“The streets show no love. They show no love at all,” he said.

That’s why he and other coaches continue the youth football league to provide alternatives for young boys in the community like Hardrick, who they consider family, Jones said.

“We’re really hurt behind this, because this is a child that we see and we see smile and we cherish them. So, this is real close to home,” said Memphis Cowboys coach Latrail Elliott.

Hardrick was a student at Humes Middle School, according to a Facebook post by the school.

“Please keep the Humes family, the North Memphis community, and especially the family in your warm thoughts and prayers as we mourn the loss of our Humes scholar, Ta’shun,” the post read.

Police said the shooting appeared to be a drive-by. The suspects were in a red four-door Nissan. If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.

2020 has been an exceptionally dangerous year for children in the city of Memphis. Police say there have been 23 child homicides this year, and 29 violent child deaths, including accidents. 

Memphis Police say at least eight of those murders remain unsolved, and $50,000 in reward money has been set aside for information on any of the cases.

“We need the community to step up and provide more information and call Crime Stoppers or contact the police department, so that we can bring closure to these families and we can bring these individuals to justice,” Police Director Michael Rallings said.

Activist Mary Trice is the CEO and the founder of the Ride of Tears, an organization working to bring an end to gun violence among children.

“You hit a baby,” said Trice. “That could’ve been your brother, your sister. That could’ve been somebody in your own family.”

Trice said her organization will have an event this Sunday at the Liberty Bowl in honor of the children who have been killed this year.

“Wake up, Memphis. You’re killing kids,” she said. “What did they do to you? That baby didn’t do anything to you. That baby doesn’t even know you. How can you take a baby’s life?”

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