MEMPHIS, Tenn. - It’s a story you’ve heard over and over: a gun is left unattended, a child gets ahold of it, and accidentally shoots another child.
That’s what police say happened in South Memphis last night.
FOX13 spoke exclusively with the sister of a 14-year-old boy shot inside his friend’s home. She said she’s not buying the story of the man charged.
Memphis police are making good on their promise to charge any adult that leaves a gun unattended around kids.
That’s exactly what they say Kevin Owens, 33, did.
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“My brother got shot. I just can’t take it. It’s so up and down,” the victim’s sister told FOX13. “They said he was laying out on the floor. The stepdad told me the little girl had picked the gun up off the table, was playing with it, and it went off and hit my brother in the side.”
She says it was her brother – Orlandis Valentine, 14 – that was shot in the side Friday night at the Hillview Apartments.
He was at Owens’ apartment playing with another teen when it happened, she said.
Owens is the boy’s stepfather.
“They always hang together. They spend the night at each other’s house all the time,” Valentine’s sister said. “Me thinking, that’s his friend, he’s safe over there, but now I see he really wasn’t safe.”
FOX13 is concealing her identity, as she was concerned about retaliation.
Her family, she said, isn’t buying Owens’ story.
“I really don’t believe the little girl grabbed the gun. My brother told me, out of his mouth, that his friend was playing with the gun and it went off,” she said.
Valentine was shot less than a month after 4-year-old Ayden Robinson was shot and killed by his 3-year-old brother in Frayser, when his stepfather allegedly left a gun unsecured in a dresser drawer.
“If you’ve got a gun around and you’ve got smaller kids, you need to buy a safe. Put it in a safe with a lock on it and keep the key with you at all times,” Valentine’s sister said.
She said Valentine’s lung collapsed and he’s currently sedated in the ICU fighting for his life.
Owens is charged with three counts of child neglect and one count of aggravated child abuse – endangerment.
MPD encourages all gun owners to pick up a free gun lock at all MPD precincts.
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