Toddler on life support after getting hit by stray bullet

MEMPHIS, TN – A neighborhood’s festive merrymaking ended in tragedy on New Year’s Eve when a stray bullet struck a toddler, leaving him on life support. Taysha Davis, the grandmother of the 3-year-old victim, Brayden Smith, is now imploring the unnamed shooter to turn themselves into the Memphis Police Department.

The kid was reportedly playing in his grandmother’s apartment at about 6 p.m. when a shot, thought to be part of New Year’s Eve celebrations, tore through his grandmother’s window, striking him in the head. Despite the celebratory atmosphere, Davis said she and others in the house quickly realized that what sounded like fireworks were actual gunshots.

In the aftermath of the horrifying incident, Davis expressed forgiveness towards the individual responsible but insisted they must face responsibility and contact the police.

Gun violence involving children is a concerning issue in the Mid-South region. Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, where Brayden is currently hospitalized, treated over 170 children for gunshot wounds in 2023, surpassing the previous record of 158 set in 2021. This rising trend has prompted local authorities like Assistant Police Chief Don Crowe to reiterate that celebratory gunfire in Memphis is illegal.

Crowe emphasized that people must understand the potential consequences of their actions, saying, “Do not shoot guns for celebration. The bullets will come down somewhere, and if those bullets come down and hit a person, it will injure a person. It is a crime to shoot a gun in celebratory gunfire.”

The Memphis Police Department urges anyone with information about the incident to call CrimeStoppers.