Every year, far too many Tennessee kids are injured or killed when they or another child gains easy access to loaded, unsecured guns. In most cases, these shooting incidents are accidental. We track all accidental or unintentional shootings but these we classify differently as they are the direct result of an irresponsible gun owner not storing firearms safely according to NRA, NSSF, AAP, and the Department of Safety guidelines. In each one of these cases, a child pulled the trigger that injured or killed themselves or another child. Every one of these incidents was #NotAnAccident and was 100% preventable.
We have been tracking these shootings since January 2015 and will keep a running tally of the numbers to date. You can also search our Unintentional Shootings Database and review “storage-related”incidents.
*We also track incidents where adults are injured by juveniles with access to loaded guns. They are noted with an asterisk.
SINCE JANUARY 2015**
Total incidents: 50
Injuries to children: 31
Injuries to adults: 2
**Safe Tennessee Project began tracking these incidents 1/2015
2017 YEAR TO DATE
Total incidents: 7
Injuries to children: 5
Injuries to adults: 0
2016 YEAR END
Total incidents: 22
Injuries to children: 14
Injuries to adults: 2
2015 YEAR END
Total Incidents: 21
Injuries to children: 12
Last Updated: 04/17/2017
April 14, 2017 – Memphis – INJURY
Four boys, two brothers, and two cousins were home alone when they found a small-caliber handgun. The 13-year-old boy started playing with the gun and accidentally shot his 12-year-old cousin. The gun was left unsecured, and there were no parents at home.
April 9, 2017 – Chattanooga – INJURY
A 13-year-old boy was shot in the head in his home in Chattanooga. Another boy in the house, who was 16, called 911. Police found no evidence that the shooting was “anything other than an accident.”
March 24, 2017 – Nashville – INJURY
Three teenagers were in a car when a 13-year-old was shot in the leg by someone else in the vehicle.
February 26, 2017 – Perry County – FATALITY
A 13-year-old boy was unintentionally shot and killed by a 12-year-old relative as the two children were in a bedroom playing with a handgun taken from a family member’s backpack. The victim was taken to Perry County Hospital where he died from his injuries.
February 20, 2017 – Memphis – INJURY
A 4-year-old was unintentionally shot by his brother. The brother was playing with the gun and dropped it, causing it to discharge. The children’s grandmother claims she fired a gun to intimidate people she said had shot into her home. She said she put the gun “back into the box but forgot to lock it.”
January 17, 2017 – Cocke County – FATALITY
The mother of a 12-year-old boy called EMS to report that her son had shot himself. Upon arrival, EMS tried to revive the child but he did not survive.
January 17, 2017 – Springfield – INJURY
A 5-year-old found a handgun in a bedroom and fired it, striking the child’s 9-year-old cousin in the arm. No charges have been filed.
December 27, 2016 – Mt. Juliet – INJURY
Three teens were at one of the boy’s homes. One of the boys visiting the home brought a firearm. As the boys were handling the gun, it discharged, striking the boy who lived in the home in the neck. He was life-flighted to Vanderbilt, treated, and was later released.
December 20, 2016 – Knoxville – FATALITY
While their parents were not home, a 13-year-old boy INTENTIONALLY and fatally shot his 12-year-old brother. The 13-year-old was charged with first-degree murder.
November 26, 2016 – McMinnville – FATALITY
A 17-tear-old girl was sitting across from her 13-year-old brother when the .223 rifle he was unloading discharged, striking her. The boy called 911 and dispatchers attempted to talk the 13-year-old through performing CPR, but the girl was pronounced dead by first responders. No word on the where the parents were or who the gun belonged to.
October 2, 2016 – Nashville – INJURY
A 16-year-old was shot on the 3400 block of Dupre Street, according to Memphis police. Officers said the shooting happened just before 8 p.m. The victim and friends where handling the weapon, the gun fired and the victim was hit in the abdomen. The victim was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
September 25, 2016 – Nashville – INJURY
A car pulled up to a residence in Donelson. A 2-year-old child that doesn’t live at the residence was able to pick up a loaded gun from a door pocket of the car and fire the gun, striking a 12-year-old in the hip. The child was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the vehicle, according to police, can legally carry the firearm, but does not have a carry permit.
August 30, 2016 – Nashville – INJURY
A 3-year-old gained access to his father’s loaded, unsecured gun and shot himself in the hand. He was taken to the hospital. His injuries are not considered life-threatening. The gun belonged to the child’s father who is a security guard and a licensed gun permit holder.
July 10, 2016 – Lawrence County – INJURY
An Amish boy was unintentionally shot with a .22 rifle by another Amish boy while the two were playing. The victim was taken to Vanderbilt for treatment.
July 3, 2016 – East Ridge – FATALITY
17-year-old Alana Luangaphy was visiting the home of a family member. She was showing off a gun to a cousin. She unloaded all but one round and put the gun to her head. As the cousin yelled at her tried to grab the gun, she shot herself in the right side of the head.
July 1, 2016 – Clarksville – FATALITY
A 3-year-old toddler fatally shot himself in the face with a .40 caliber pistol. The child was visiting from Fort Riley, Kansas, with his family. The gun belonged to the homeowner.
June 7, 2016 – Lawrenceburg – INJURY
A Lawrence County boy is in the critical care unit at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville after he was accidentally shot in the chest with a BB gun. Caleb Young, 10, was shot in the chest at close range Tuesday night while outside shooting with the BB gun with another boy.
May 26, 2016 – Murfreesboro – INJURY
A boy who was cleaning a rifle he thought was unloaded unintentionally fired it. The bullet struck his father in the leg. He was airlifted to Vanderbilt. His condition is unknown.
May 12, 2016 – Memphis – INJURY
An 18-year-old was unintentionally shot in the chest as she got ready for prom. A 17-year-old friend was “playing around with a gun” when it went off, shooting the young woman and leaving her in critical condition. The 17-year-old was charged with aggravated assault.
May 7, 2016 – Smyrna – INJURY
A 2-year-old child was able to gain access to a loaded gun and accidentally shot herself. She was Life-Flighted to Vanderbilt and is expected to survive.
April 30, 2016 – Memphis – INJURY
A 17-year-old unintentionally shot himself near the campus of the University of Memphis.
April 29, 2016 – Lebanon – INJURY
A 10-year-old found a loaded shotgun and unintentionally shot himself in the abdomen. He has been taken to the hospital.
March 24, 2016 – Memphis – INJURY
An 11-year-old little girl was shot by a playmate who was playing with a gun. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
March 19, 2016 – Nashville – INJURY
A 14-year-old boy in Nashville accidentally shot himself in the leg. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No word on how he had access to a loaded gun.
February 29, 2016 – Apison
3-year-old Gavin Pittman accidentally shot himself in the head in his family’s minivan. The minivan was parked outside the family’s home. The child’s mother was charged with criminally negligent homicide and child endangerment.
January 25, 2016 – Crossville – FATALITY
Parents left four siblings in a car while they went inside a Verizon store to pay a bill. One child found a semi-automatic pistol left inside the mother’s purse and accidentally shot a 7-year-old boy also in the car. The child was shot in the head. He was flown to a Knoxville trauma center for medical treatment where he died. No charges have been filed.
January 3, 2016 – Knoxville
A 15-year-old boy and some friends were playing with a gun in the teen’s bedroom. The gun fired, injuring the boy. Initially the boy lied about what happened, saying he didn’t know how he was shot. The injured boy’s parents say that one of the boy’s friends brought the gun over to the house. No word yet on any charges or how the teen with the gun had access to it.
January 3, 2016 – Memphis
According to police, a 15-year-old boy’s father was approaching the house when he heard two shots. The teen opened the door and said he shot himself. The boy was taken to the Regional Medical Center in critical condition, police said.
December 2015– Estill Springs
11 year-old Sienna Owens who was shot and killed at her 12-year-old friend’s house. Sienna and several friends were at a boy’s home and the children were in the garage. A gun was produced, a single shot was fired, and Sienna Owens was killed. Police are still investigating the shooting to determine if it was unintentional. However, the death of this young girl is 100% due to the negligent storage of a gun. Middle school aged children should not be allowed access to loaded guns without adult supervision. No charges have been filed.
November 30, 2015 – Nashville
A 3-year-old child unintentionally shot himself in the arm with a gun. His father was in the kitchen when the child shot himself.
November 17, 2015 – Goodlettsville
A father who always kept his loaded gun nearby for protection was watching TV with his two young sons. The gun had a laser sight and the father was teasing the family cat with the laser. He set the gun down and left the room. The older boy picked up the gun and tried to operate the laser but instead, accidentally shot his 5-year-old little brother in the head, killing him. The father was later charged with felony criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.
October 31, 2015 – Zionville NC
A 13-year-old Tennessee boy was accidentally shot by another 13-year-old Tennessee boy in Zionville, NC, on the state line of North Carolina and Tennessee. The boy sustained a shotgun blast to the abdomen and was airlifted to Johnson City. No word on condition or how the boys had access to the gun.
October 31, 2015 – Whitehaven
A 15-year-old and 16-year-old were both injured when a gun the 16-year-old was handling “just went off.” One child was struck in the foot and the other in the hand.
October 3, 2015 – White Pine – FATALITY
8-year-old MaKayla Dyer who was INTENTIONALLY shot by her 11-year old neighbor when she refused to let him play with her puppy. The boy used his father’s loaded shotgun, kept in an unlocked closet in a trailer full of children. Although this incident was intentional, the death was 100% due to the negligent storage of the father’s shotgun. The boy was convicted of first degree murder but the father will not be charged with anything.
August 14, 2015 – Greeneville
In Greeneville, a 17-year-old practicing his “quick draw” skills accidentally shot himself in the leg. The teenager told deputies that he forgot to unload the revolver “and while drawing the weapon it discharged. The bullet struck his right leg just above the ankle. His injuries were minor.
August 29, 2015 – Murfreesboro – FATALITY
A 15-year-old popular football player was accidentally shot in the head at his home. He was life flighted and kept on life support. Four days later, he was declared brain dead.
August 5, 2015 – Robertson County – FATALITY
The 15-year-old son of a Robertson County deputy was accidentally shot and killed. No word on who shot him, only that it was an accident. The boy’s father is the school resource officer at his high school.
August 4, 2015 – Chattanooga
A developmentally disabled 13-year-old accidentally shot himself in the arm with a loaded gun he found in his home. Police found a total of three handguns including a 9mm handgun and a .22 caliber gun which were loaded. One of the guns was stolen.
August 1, 2015 – Nashville
A 10-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the chest by another child at a Nashville motel. Three boys were playing with a cap gun and a .22 caliber when the shooting occurred.
July 24, 2015 – Tullahoma
A 12-year-old boy was accidentally shot with a .243 rifle by another juvenile. He was airlifted to Vanderbilt. He is expected to survive.
June 23, 2015 – Memphis
While his mother was at the store and his father was doing yard work, a 4-year-old found his father’s loaded gun and shot and killed himself with it.
May 30, 2015 – Memphis
Two teens in Memphis were playing with the hammer of a revolver in one of their apartments when the gun fired, shooting one of them in the thigh. The victim was last reported to be in stable condition. The shooter was charged with reckless endangerment. No charges have been filed against the adult(s) who allowed the revolver to be in the possession of the teens.
May 29, 2015 – Hickman County – INJURY
The 14-year-old daughter of a Sheriff’s deputy, described as being well acquainted with firearms, was accidentally shot with one of her father’s personal guns. Her injuries required surgery.
March 31, 2015 – Nashville
2-year-old child killed in Madison apartment. Investigation is ongoing but it is likely the child fired the gun himself. No charges have been filed.
March 22, 2015 – Blount County – INJURY
In Alcoa, a 14-year-old girl mistook a loaded pistol for a BB gun and fired it at a 17 year old, injuring him. The two teens were at the home of a Blount County sheriff’s department officer. No charges have been filed.
March 3, 2015 – Coffee County – INJURY
A 3-year-old little boy found a loaded gun and shot his 18 month old brother in the head.
February 27, 2015 – Nashville
An 11-year-old little boy and a 15-year-old boy were playing with a gun when the 11-year-old accidentally shot and killed the 15-year-old.
February 3, 2015 – Morgan County – FATALITY
A 15-year-old was at home with family when he removed a gun out of the family’s gun safe. The gun fired, killing the boy.
January 10, 2015 – Lebanon – INJURY
Two high school sophomores playing with a gun at one of the boys’ houses. The gun was discharged, shattering the femur of one of the boys.