Police: Grandfather fired shots with 5-year-old in car

By Lori Brown - bio | email

Memphis, TN (WMC-TV) - A gun-toting grandfather is charged with child endangerment after Memphis police say he fired a sawed-off shotgun at Covington Pike and Pleasant View while his 5-year-old grandchild was inside the car.

Police got a call just before midnight Saturday night that a man in a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro fired shots at the busy intersection.

Investigators may have been surprised when they pulled the suspect over and found he was a grandfather, with his wife and grandchild in the car with him.

When officers pulled Anthony Payton, 44, over, a court record says, Payton had an "odor of intoxicants" and "red watery eyes." Payton agreed to allow an officer to look in his Camaro. Inside the trunk, an officer found a quote "12 gauge shotgun with a sawed off barrel laying in plain view."

Police found two spent shells laying in the intersection of Covington Pike and Pleasant View. The shells matched the one found in Payton's gun.

"I couldn't see him firing a shot," Payton's neighbor Ed Adams said. "I couldn't see him doing that, especially with his wife and children in the car. His wife, she just seemed like a nice person."

"He's a really nice friendly person," Arthur Martin, another neighbor, said. "I couldn't see it happening unless he had someone provoke him."

Even if Payton didn't fire a shot, just having a sawed off shotgun is an automatic felony. The Affidavit of Complaint says Payton told the officer the shotgun was his, and said "it had been given to him by a friend".

No one was at Payton's house Monday afternoon. He is out on $3,000 bond, charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, DUI/Child Endangerment, and Public Intoxication.

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