MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Children, as young as 2 years old, are becoming victims of violence in Memphis.
The most recent: Laylah Washington, a toddler, shot and killed during an apparent road rage incident last month.
Other children murdered this year were outside a store, near their home or at a playground.
On April 2, 2017, blue lights blinded a Binghampton neighborhood. It was the night Carol Brown’s son was shot and killed outside a corner store.
“His friend just came and told me they killed your son,” said Brown.
Deago was just 17 years old.
“I didn’t believe it. I was hurt. I was like in a shock. I couldn’t believe it happened,” she said.
Deago had joined a church the day before. He was set to be baptized the next weekend.
Brown said he was desperate to get off the violent streets.
“My son told me before, ‘Mom, I’m searching for something.’ He was in a gang. He was trying to find satisfaction in all the wrong places,” she said.
Brown said her son never had a father figure. His dad was shot and killed in the streets when she was pregnant with Deago.
She said gangs are taking the place of fathers.
“It’s really sad,” she said.
In 2016, Memphis police reports 240 children were shot or shot at, and so far this year, 127.
“Most staggering to me was when I was talking to a group of young men at juvenile court, and I said, ‘How many young men have been shot?’ All of them raised their hand,” said MPD Direcotr Rallings.
He said the city needs to treat gun violence as an epidemic.
“Far too many kids that have access to guns. Far too many guns on the streets are stolen from cars and stolen from homes,” said MPD Director Rallings. “I need parents to be responsible and not provide children with guns. Keep guns out of access of children.”
Rallings said he’s fed up.
“It’s going to take everyone working together,” he said.
Police said Deago’s killer was a 15-year-old girl, and she shouldn’t have had a gun in the first place.
“There’s a better way to live our lives in our community. We can reach out to one another,” said Brown.
Brown is asking people step up and become mentors.
If you’d like to help out, here are some ways to get involved: