Memphis leads nation in accidental child shootings - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis leads nation in accidental child shootings

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

A recent investigation revealed Memphis has the highest number of accidental child shootings in the country.

Tara Johnson’s son Curtis Johnson was just two weeks away from high school graduation when tragedy struck.

“I won't have grandchildren,” Johnson said. “And people just don't understand how this devastates a family. Not only did he die that day, a part of me died too."

Curtis was one week away from his senior prom when he went to a friend’s house and eventually lost his life.

“A friend was acting careless with a gun; he should not have had, and he killed my son,” Johnson said.

Curtis is just one of many of these incidents. A joint study by the Associated Press and USA Today uncovered how common children are accidentally shot.

The study found that Memphis ranks first among accidental shootings on minors. Nationally, these types of shootings have claimed the lives of more than 320 children and 30 adults.

“It's devastating, because again, they are not accidents,” Johnson said. “They are unintentional shootings and all shootings are preventable. We need to educate parents about safety.”

18 months after her son died, Tara Johnson said she is now able to turn tragedy into strength.

She carries her son’s senior portrait in her trunk and has joined forces with other mothers to save lives.

"Now I fight,” she said. “I'm fighting every day to keep his name alive--to make sure I speak on education, proper ways to store and secure guns, to educate children that guns are not toys."

While the numbers are alarming, she said it is evidence that more needs to be done to keep guns out of children’s hands.

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