A 3-year-old boy in Tennessee was shot and killed by a stray bullet in his own home on New Year’s Eve in a horrific tragedy authorities blamed on “celebratory gunfire.”
Little Brayden Smith was inside his family’s apartment in Northeast Memphis when a bullet flew through a window and struck him Sunday at around 6 p.m., police told Action News 5.
The toddler was rushed to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital but could not be saved. Memphis police confirmed his death Wednesday, the local station reported.
“Our hearts are aching beyond repair at the loss of such a young and innocent life,” a GoFundMe page created to raise money to cover the child’s funeral costs states.
Investigators believe the bullet came from a gun shot by someone in a different part of the apartment complex. The shooter remains at large.
Assistant Police Chief Don Crowe said the shooting may have been related to New Year’s Eve festivities, with the suspect unloading a gun into the air.
“We’ve tried to stress that this month that celebratory gunfire is illegal and celebratory gunfire leads to tragic events like this and we just have to stop shooting these guns,” Crowe said, according to Action News.
Memphis ministry Touched by an Angel Foundation gave little Brayden’s family a donation Thursday in his memory.
The boy’s grandmother said the child was one of a kind.
“He was hilarious, I mean he was his own person,” Tasha Davis told Action News. “He didn’t take no stuff.”
Brayden’s death marked the 398th homicide Memphis saw in 2023 — the highest murder count per capita of all large cities across the US, according to the outlet.