An emergency room doctor and activist in Memphis, Tenn. detailed how shootings have impacted children after new data from one hospital in the city shows that 76 kids have been already been treated for gunshot wounds in 2021.
“It’s getting extremely frustrating that we have to keep having to have this conversation,” Dr. Regan Williams, the trauma medical director at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, told Fox 13. “I don’t think this is going to get better anytime soon.”
That compares to the 134 children treated for gunshot wounds at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital throughout all of 2020, which already saw a drastic increase from the 89 in 2019 and the 67 kids treated in 2018, Fox 13 Memphis reported.
And the new data comes just days after 7-year-old Kelby Shorty was shot and killed in a Memphis neighborhood on the Fourth of July, reportedly when someone opened fire into a crowd that had just finished watching a celebratory fireworks display.
“I feel like I’m a broken record when I say this over and over again,” Williams continued to Fox 13. “I really do think it’s an adult responsibility to keep all the children in our community safe and it takes all of us working together for that to happen.”
Voicing hopeless children will be caught in the crossfire once schools reopen, Williams added, “Maybe some normal life can resume for them because certainly the last year of them being out of school and out of sports, and out of activities, I think really did take a toll on what our kids were doing during the day.”
Family said Shorty, a second grader at Vollentine Optional School who was wearing a medical boot for stitches on his foot, couldn’t easily run for cover when gunfire rang out around 11 p.m. Sunday in the 700 block of North Montgomery Street.
Shorty died, though two adult women, ages 22 and 28, were also shot in the incident are expected to survive, WMC reported.
Fox News independently reached out to the hospital for added comment.
Charlie Caswell, executive director of Legacy of Legends CDC, also voiced concern over the sense of normalcy that’s grown over shootings, even those impacting children. Legacy of Legends CDC is a Memphis organization that seeks to help children overcome traumatic childhood experiences and build a better quality of life in low-income areas through community outreach, according to its website.
“I think it will have a ripple effect not just on that child, but the family and others in the community that knows that child, this stuff is becoming all too normal,” Caswell told Fox 13. He described how children growing up seeing other children impacted by violence can leave them feeling helpless.
A child’s “brain isn’t fully developed as an adult so trying to process is going to be hard for them,” Caswell said, adding that Legacy of Legends CDC been offering a free summer camp for youth from the Frayser neighborhood on the north side of Memphis to keep them engaged in healthy outlets.
Fox News also reached out to the Memphis Police Department for an update on the investigation into the shooting that killed Shorty on Sunday.
Memphis hospital says 76 children treated for gunshot wounds, 7-year-old latest victim