MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Two children were killed and another was seriously injured over the weekend in shootings that Memphis Police Department said were completely preventable.
An 8-year-old and two 4-year-olds were shot in Memphis in a three-day span.
DeAundre Wilhite-Shannon had a bright future. His family said he had just turned 8 years old on August 11. His life ended Sunday when police say he got hold of a gun and accidentally shot himself in the chest.
"I pray that it doesn't happen again to anyone," Jacqueline Pittman, a neighbor, said.
Before the shooting, Wilhite-Shannon was battling meningitis, and, his mother said, he was disabled.
His mother also said he went to Gardenview Elementary School, and he was loved by his family, friends, and neighbors.
Deaundre and a 4-year-old boy were killed. And at last check, a 4-year-old girl is at the hospital fighting to recover after shooting herself in the neck. In two of the cases, the fathers were charged with reckless homicide.
Neighbors of the injured 4-year-old girl are hopeful she'll make a full recovery.
"I'm praying that she'll be OK. I've been praying for her ever since it happened," Pittman said. "Unfortunately, a terrible accident happened, and I hate that it happened."
"As a parent myself it's heartbreaking to hear that because I never want to hear that happen to somebody's child or anybody for that manner," said Marion Hannah, who is a firearms instructor for Memphis Police Department.
Hannah encourages parents and any other gun owners to lock their guns up at all time. He said its a simple precaution that will prevent children from losing their lives.
More children have shot themselves in Tennessee after finding negligently stored guns than in any other state in America. And more of these preventable accidents happened in Memphis than in any other city in the state, according to Safe Tennessee Project.
In Tennessee, there have been almost as many of these incidents so far in 2017 as there were in all of 2016. There have also been seven fatalities in 2017, already tying the total number of fatalities in 2016.