MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Loved ones are seeking change in the community after a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed on Christmas. 

What was destined to be a holiday to remember took a turn for the worst after tragedy struck, leaving a family in mourning.

Investigators say 17-year-old Tevaughn Deberry was shot along South 3rd Street on Christmas night and pronounced dead at the hospital.

In a statement posted online, his family confirmed his death, saying, “Our family lost Tevaughn on Christmas night to gun violence, and this event has really hit my family at a very unfortunate time due to it being the holidays.”

It’s a sentiment that community activist, Kenny Lee of Ride of Tears, has heard a lot this year.

“It hurts me when I see these babies in these caskets, who did not get a chance and won’t get a chance to drive a car, go to prom, go to graduation, get their driver’s license,” said Lee.

Deberry is remembered by loved ones as a teen passionate about making music, watching anime, and taking care of his mother.

In a year when Memphis saw a decrease in homicides, the number of juveniles killed increased.

Memphis Police tells WREG that 35 children were shot and killed in 2022, which is up four from the previous year. 

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital says it treated 148 children for gunshot wounds last year, a slight decrease from 2021’s record of 158.

Lee says those numbers show there is work to be done in 2023.

“We preach all year, ‘Stop the killing, stop the killing,’ but the message this year is, ‘Put the d**n guns down,’ and I mean that. Put the d**n guns down.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with Deberry’s funeral arrangements.

Police are still searching for Deberry’s killer. If you know anything, you are urged to call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.