HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — A teenager was shot to death when he and his best friend played with a gun, police said.
Helena-West Helena Police say 15-year-old Jayden Taylor-Campbell was killed in a shooting on August 12 at the Poplar Manor Apartments on Poplar Street. Jayden was reportedly visiting his grandmother at the time of shooting.
“He went to church. He was good in school,” said Jayden’s father, Demarius Campbell. “All the teachers loved him, and his classmates.”
Police say it appears that Jayden and his 16-year-old best friend were playing with a Glock 17 in a stairway. The gun was fully loaded and had an extended magazine.
According to police, the 16-year-old was holding the gun. Jayden reportedly reached for the gun because he didn’t believe it was loaded.
Helena-West Helena Police say the gun went off, and Jayden was shot in the right side.
The 16-year-old reportedly flagged down a passerby. Police say the 16-year-old helped Jayden get into the car before fleeing the scene.
Jayden later died at that hospital.
Police say officers got a call about someone down in the roadway, but Jayden had already been taken to the hospital by the time officers arrived on the scene.
Just moments before he was shot, Jayden had asked his mother to bring him something to eat.
“I pulled up, and they was outside at the crime scene,” said his mother Jasmine Smith. “I jumped out and the office told me to step back, ‘It’s a crime scene.’ I said, ‘No, my mom and my son stay here.”
She was told to go to the Helena Regional Medical Center, but it was too late.
The 16-year-old was later found and taken into custody. He has been charged with manslaughter.
Helena-West Helena Police say the gun is not registered, and the 16-year-old has not said where he got it.
“The Glock only holds about 15 rounds, but that Glock would have held about 45 at the time of the shooting. It was fully loaded,” Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Mayfield said.
Police call the shooting an “unfortunate accident” and say the 16-year-old is “very remorseful.” Police say the 16-year-old has been cooperative and did render aid to the victim.
As Jayden’s parents plan the his funeral, they look for healing, not hatred.
“I had plans for my boy,” Smith said, “but God had bigger plans.”
Mayfield reminds citizens his department has a “gun buy back ” program where persons who turn in guns can receive a $50 gift card or $50 gas card, no questions asked.