Shelby County officials break down violent crimes committed by kids this year

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — In the wake of a shooting at a Memphis school Thursday morning, Shelby County officials released a breakdown of violent crimes committed this year by juveniles.

The list includes four murders, six sexual assaults on minors and 19 incidents involving the threat or use of a deadly weapon, according to the Shelby County DA’s office.

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As of Sept. 1, 25 children have been transferred to be handled as adults in Criminal Court, the release said.

Under Tennessee law, certain juvenile offenders can be tried as adults in Criminal Court, including:

  • those under 14 who commit murder 1st, murder 2nd or attempted murder 1st and attempted murder 2nd
  • those between 14-17 who commit or attempt to commit a violent crime (murder, rape, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, carjacking, aggravated burglary)
  • those between 16-17 who commit robbery and
  • those between 17-18 -- regardless of the crime.

In addition to these criteria and others, a judge considers the juvenile’s prior record and previous methods to rehabilitate the child.

So far this year, the cases in which transfers have been granted include:

Of those 25 cases, six involved rapes or aggravated sexual assault of minors.

19 involved the threat or use of a deadly weapon including a knife; a tire iron believed to be a gun; and 17 guns/rifles being pointed at, shot or used to beat victims, the release said.

The youngest person transferred was a 14-year-old for First-Degree Murder, officials said.

The majority of the juveniles are 17 or 18 years old.

19 have prior charges including aggravated robbery, carjacking, rape, aggravated burglary, weapons offenses and theft.

The DA’s office released a narrative of all 25 cases.

In one, a child shot and killed one victim and injured another at an apartment complex, the DA said.

Another child and a friend approached a victim and stole his car at gunpoint.

In another, a child forced a 12-year-old victim to perform oral sex on him while filming the incident. The video was distributed throughout a local high school.