MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police say at least a dozen kids have died due to gun violence this year. That includes a 1-year-old boy shot and killed over the weekend at a store parking lot in Frayser.
Police say that baby boy was sitting inside a car in the parking lot of a Superlo Foods on North Watkins when the shooting happened.
MPD says he’s one of at least 12 kids shot and killed this year, while LeBonheur Children’s Hospital says it’s treated more than 48 children for gunshot wounds so far this year.
But one pastor says he’s taking action to prevent this from happening again.
“You know it puts you in shock,” said Pastor Ricky Floyd, of The Pursuit of God Transformation Center. “There’s a text chain many of us community leaders have together and you could just hear the pain and sentiments of what could we do and what could we have done to avoid this situation.”
“These are young children like you say who have not had an opportunity to even really get started on life and it’s taken from them,” Floyd said.
Pastor Floyd says he’s working with other community leaders to offer a gun safety class as part of the church’s mentor program. He believes education is a preventative step that can curb some of the violence.
The class will start with children that are as young as 6 years old.
“We caught a lot of flak for that because they’re saying why would you teach young children about guns. If you don’t teach them then the last thing you need is a person void of knowledge running upon a gun and finding a gun,” Floyd said.
Floyd added, “The effect that has on their siblings, their parents, their grandparents, their community, their classmate, it’s devastating to a community.”
Pastor Floyd is also making available free gun locks at his congregation to promote responsible gun ownership.
Police have detained one person in this weekend’s shooting but say the investigation is ongoing for now.