MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the flip of a switch, a deadly weapon becomes deadlier.
FOX13 Investigates looked into the Glock switch, an illegal modification to a semi-automatic handgun that allows it to fire like an automatic weapon, capable of shooting dozens of bullets in a matter of seconds.
“Glock switches are definitely on the rise,” said ATF Nashville Special Agent in Charge Mickey French. “In essence, you’re spraying bullets everywhere. We seized almost 50 of them in the past six months.”
In February, a gun modified the same way nearly took the life of 4-year-old Itali Oakley, leaving her on a ventilator in the hospital in Memphis for weeks.
“I’m wrapping my head around getting my life back on track, getting Itali back on track, and that’s a daily walk,” said Kerbi Oakley, Itali’s mother.
Kerbi Oakley did not want Itali photographed on camera. Off-camera, she showed FOX13 Investigates where her daughter was shot. Amazingly, just one bullet hit her after many were fired. The bullet grazed the back of Itali’s head, lodging bullet fragments as it passed through.
The shooting left a permanent scar.
Police investigators said the gun used had been modified with a Glock switch. The family had just left their home for dinner. Police said the gun was fired after what they describe as a fit of road rage.
“You don’t know the aftermath of seeing a child on a ventilator. You don’t know the aftermath of seeing your child (struggle to breathe). You don’t know the aftermath of seeing doctors come in and out of the room telling me that the oxygen level’s low, giving you anxiety on a daily. It’s minute by minute,” she said.
“Start realizing anger can kill, steal, destroy. I’m blessed to have her here. But I know I have seen a change in my daughter. And that’s what this gun has done to her,” Kerbi Oakley said,
FOX13 Investigates uncovered more Glock switches in use in Memphis. Last month, police arrested Preniago Baines and charged him with attempted first-degree murder after they said he shot a man.
In a sworn police investigative document, they said he was found with a Glock handgun equipped with a Glock switch and an extended magazine.
“We’re seeing them from two different sources: the first one being from China, they’re being shipped in,” French said. “The second source is individuals that are printing them on 3D printers,” said French.
Itali Oakley has made a full recovery but still faces years of therapy for the related trauma.
A 17-year-old was arrested for her shooting. The suspect has not been named but is charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to police.
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