MEMPHIS, Tenn.– “The tragedy of it is unspeakable, but what’s maddening about it is how preventable.”
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich’s words come after a 3-year-old little boy arrived to the hospital Sunday with a gunshot wound to the head. He later died.
The child’s mother, Tinesha Jackson, said her friend, Tedrick Butler, left his AR-15 out while they were away, getting something to eat.
The 3-year-old and his 4-year-old brother stayed at the house, in a family member’s care.
The family member told investigators, while he was asleep on the couch, he heard a gunshot. The four-year-old told him his brother had been shot.
Butler is also accused of hiding other weapons behind the Westwood home before police arrived.
Jackson told officers she knew he had brought a gun into her home and left it unsecured in a bedroom.
We asked Weirich how people involved in cases like these are charged.
“It goes back to what the facts are, what the laws of the state of Tennessee are and what we can prove to a jury,” she said.
But she said these cases also evolve.
“So, information that law enforcement would have available for them in the hours and days after a crime occurs, there might be witnesses that come up and more information that is made available as the case gets a little bit older,” Weirich said.
Weirich is urging parents to take steps to keep their children safe.
“How many more children are going to have to die from gunshot wounds before adults who have guns in the home act like adults and store them safely,” she said. “If there is a gun in your home or if you have children whom you love, who live in a house where there are guns, please have the conversation, please, please take the steps that have to be taken to keep that gun safe, out of the reach of children.”
Memphis Police are offering free gun locks at police precincts for people who need them.