Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital working to end community violence

Le Bonheur program aims to stop the violence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Concerns are raised after a 12-year-old Horn Lake girl was shot and killed Monday, while a five-year-old girl was injured by shrapnel in a Memphis shooting Tuesday.

"We know that the children have nothing to do with this,” said Doctor Regan Williams, Trauma Medical Director of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Often times, they are the victims of gun violence.

"We had a child die in our community a couple of days ago. We had a child die in our ER about a month ago,” said Williams.

Children are either getting their hands on a gun or being caught in the crossfire.

"About half of those are accidental injuries, so that’s just unsafe storage of guns. A child gets a gun in some situation and then somebody gets hurt from it and then the other half are accidental and intentional. So, a lot of those are drive by shootings, so just children in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Williams.

On Monday, police say a 12-year-old girl was shot and killed in Horn Lake. According to investigators, two preteens were playing with a gun when it went off. One was shot in the hand and the bullet struck the girl in the chest.

Memphis Police are investigating a shooting from Tuesday night on St. Elmo. They say the suspect, who has yet to be identified, and the victim got into an argument and shots were fired into a car. A 5-year-old-girl was cut by glass during the shooting.

"We usually get 30-35 a year, but in 2017 we actually had 96,” said Williams.

Dr. Regan Williams works with Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

She said after an uptick in firearm injuries from 2017, the hospital teamed up with local organizations.

A large part of the program is geared towards education.

"They’re 8, 10 and 12-year-olds that are getting them. Those are people that we can have conversations with that we can teach them about why guns are unsafe and why you need to stay away from them,” said Williams.

Le Bonheur will host its first community violence meeting Thursday at 3:30pm.

It will be held at the Urban Child Institute, on the fourth floor of the Crosstown Concourse building.

Community organizations and residents who want to address violence in our community are all welcome to attend.

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