Family pleads with community after 7-year-old gunned down in North Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Residents in Memphis held an emotional vigil Monday night for a 7-year-old boy killed by gunfire on the 4th of July.

MORE: Family identifies 7-year-old boy shot and killed during Fourth of July triple shooting

Kelby Shorty is one of the youngest murder victims in the city.

His family said they were enjoying a 4th of July celebration when a car drove by and opened fire into a crowd of women and children.   

Shorty was shot and killed, an innocent victim.

Children are not supposed to die in drive-by shootings, but Kelby Shorty did. 

Tosha Thomas is Kelby’s grand aunt.  She told FOX13, “We love Kelby, sweet, nice.   The best seven years we had with him.”

The family told FOX13 they heard up to 12 gunshots as everyone ran for cover when the gunman opened fire.

 Kelby was not as nimble because, “had it not been for him cutting his foot a couple of weeks ago, he probably would have been able to run.  But he was told to stand right there and pop his fireworks,” said Thomas.

Thomas told FOX13 she believes the motive for the shooting was an argument with someone at a nearby gas station, and that the suspects drove down Montgomery Street and fired at them.  Police sources told FOX13 privately they are investigating that possibility.

“If anybody out there knows anything, the people that were in the car, please call Crimestoppers,” Thomas said.

The second-grader is now the tenth juvenile murdered in the City of Memphis this year.   

Pastor Ricky Floyd of the Pursuit of God Transformation Center argues that city leaders need to better fund grassroots organizations in troubled neighborhoods with a proven track record of reducing violence and poverty.  

“Fifteen years ago, our community would have been in an outrage.  I think, unfortunately, we have become numb to these things,” said Pastor Floyd.

Seven-year-old Kelby Shorty’s family is not numb, but outraged.  

“I was very devastated. This has taken a toll on us. It really has,” Thomas said.

Memphis Police hope that a Sky Cop Camera on a utility pole recorded the entire crime and can help identify the car and gunman.