West Memphis teen gunned down while playing video games, family says

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A 16-year-old was killed when someone fired up to a dozen shots into a West Memphis home early Friday morning.

According to police, first responders were called to 2000 East Harrison around 2 a.m.

On the scene, the family identified the victim as Taylon Vail, a freshman at West Junior High.

They said he was inside the home playing video games when someone opened fire.

Police said the teen had decided to stay at his grandmother’s house while his parents were out of town and they had no reason to believe the well-liked athlete was the intended target.

“From everyone we talked to he was  just an outstanding kid,” said West Memphis Assistant Police Chief Robert Langston.

Vail went to West Junior High School and played basketball until he injured himself. The school released a statement Friday after learning of Vail’s death, calling his death “a huge loss.”

Kameron Watson lives in the grandmother’s neighborhood.  He said he grew up with Vail and can’t believe he’ll never see his friend again.

“He didn’t mess with no one.  We  always  just played  basketball.   All he wanted to do was play basketball,” said Watson.

Along with investigating this most recent shooting, West Memphis police had to add more officers to West Junior High after false rumors began spreading on social media about a shooting on campus.

Vail’s friends said they are tired of the violence in West Memphis, and police said they’re not going to tolerate it anymore.

Police have offered a $2,000 reward for information in Friday morning’s shooting, as well as two other shooting deaths that happened last Saturday.

“We are going to use every asset available,” said Langston. “State, federal. If you are shooting in West Memphis, committing violent crimes, we are going to put you in jail.”

If you can help, call Crime Stoppers (870) 732-4444 or the West Memphis Police Department at (870) 732-7555.


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