3-year-old boy dies after shooting self with gun left in bedroom, Memphis police say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A three-year-old is dead after Memphis police said the child got his hands on a loaded AR-15-style pistol left in a bedroom.

Police arrested the boy’s mother, Tinesha Jackson, and her friend, Tedrick Butler.

The incident happened on March 27 in the 400 block of Tonawanda Cove in Whitehaven.

According to an affidavit, Jackson told investigators Butler left the gun in her bedroom on a box covered with clothes while they went to get food.

The toddler and his four-year-old brother were home with their uncle at the time of the incident.

Records show the uncle told police he fell asleep but woke up when he heard a gunshot, and the four-year-old said his brother was shot in the head.

Jackson rushed the toddler to the hospital after arriving home and calling the police.

He was pronounced dead by a doctor at Methodist South, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said that officers found two AR-15-style pistols and another pistol that was altered to be fully automatic in the home, along with a backpack of marijuana.

Police said Jackson knew Butler brought the gun into the home and left it unsecured in the bedroom.

He’s charged with negligent homicide, felon in possession of a handgun, possession of a controlled substance, and other crimes, records show.

Jackson is charged with negligent homicide.

Neighbors told FOX13 they were praying for the family, but many say the child’s death was completely avoidable.

“I feel, as a parent, the guns shouldn’t have been out in the first place,” said Paris Hoskins, who lives down the street from where the 3-year-old was shot.

Monday afternoon, there were still big wheels and other toys that a child could ride and play with in the yard here.

“I think it is sad to have guns in the house with the baby,” neighbor Kyla Burns said.

Burns said that none of this makes any sense to her.

“I mean, I feel like you need to protect your house, but not leave it laying around,” Burns said

At least two other shootings, one in which children were injured or killed by unsecured firearms, have happened in Memphis since the beginning of the year.

On January 12 on Clayton Avenue, a toddler was shot and killed accidentally with an unsecured handgun. In that case, the gun owner was charged.

On March 11, a toddler was accidentally shot in the 200 block of Kimball with an unsecured firearm.

“I know my son is extremely active, and he will find anything to get into, so with that being said, if I have a gun laying around, it doesn’t matter if it wasn’t loaded. It just shouldn’t have been there in the first place,” Hoskins said.