Grandmother arrested after 3-year-old accidentally shoots brother

Brothers involved in the shooting. Mom says the 4-year-old is out of surgery but will have to have surgery. (Source: Family)
Brothers involved in the shooting. Mom says the 4-year-old is out of surgery but will have to have surgery. (Source: Family)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A 3-year-old boy was shot by his 4-year-old brother while playing with a gun Sunday night.

Memphis Police Department arrested Diane Nellums on Monday and charged her with child abuse and neglect. She is the children's grandmother.

Just before 8 p.m. Sunday, officers rushed to the home on Mirror Avenue near Hawkins Mill Road to investigate after a woman said someone fired shots into her home.

While Memphis police officers were on the scene, they heard a shot inside the home. The mother of the two children carried her 4-year-old son to officers and said he had just been shot.

"No one would ever think this would happen to their child," the child's mother said. "This is a total shock to happen at your house at that."

The 4-year-old was taken to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in non-critical condition.

"It was heartbreaking, there's no doubt about it," the child's mother said. "My whole world came crashing down in the blink of an eye."

Bell initially told police she took the gun out of a lock box, went outside, and fired shots into the ground to scare off the people who opened fire on her home earlier in the day. Nellums said she went back inside and put the gun back in the lock box, but didn't lock it.

The MPD affidavit for the arrest of Nellums states that the gun was left unattended on the living room table. That's where the victim's 3-year-old brother found it and started playing with it. He then dropped it and it went off, hitting the 4-year-old in the arm.

Bell said her 4-year-old son underwent surgery.

"He's going to have to have therapy on his arms," the child's mother said.

She said it's a lesson that was learned and she's encouraging other parents to be careful if they have guns in their home.

"Keep it out of the way of your children," she said. "Keep it locked up. Somewhere you know they can't get to it at all."

There's no word on how much longer the 4-year-old will be in the hospital.

Nellums is due in court Tuesday.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family of Bell. If you would like to donate, click here.

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