WREG-TV Memphis - Another Memphis Milestone

Fast Facts:

Youngest Defendants in This Type of Case Anybody can Remember

Juvenile Population At Corrections Center Rising and More Violent

Happens During One Of Most Violent Weeks In Memphis History



(Memphis, TN---3/6/2008)

You'd think twice before trying to rob the Guns and Ammo store on Summer Avenue. Strong steel gates cover the plate glass windows. There are giant poles placed in front of the store, so that no one can try to break through the building using a car or a truck. They make it tough to commit a crime at this store. But it wasn't tough enough for three kids, during an afternoon while the store was open. "They got right up next to the case," says Shelby County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Shular, "...they were somehow able to jimmy that case open and the guns were brought out. One after the other...taken out of the case."

Six guns to be exact...taken out of a display case...out of the store...and onto the streets of Memphis. And within hours, they went into the hands of people who probably had no good reason to own a handgun. Especially one sold by kids. "They said that within just a few hours," Shular said, "...they had either sold those guns or traded those guns already. Just within a few hours."

One gun was traded for two cell phones. One was sold for $200. One was given away to return a favor. Weapons of human destruction floating around in a city seeped in violence, and all because of the work of a 14 year old boy, and two 12 year old boys. According to Shular, "This points out exactly the statistics we're seeing. That more and more young people are committing crime. Violent crimes. And they're getting guns." All three are being held in the jail at Juvenile Court.

Memphis has been averaging a murder every other day so far this year. A life snuffed out for one reason or another every 48 hours. Usually with a gun. And when bad people get guns, good people buy guns to protect themselves from the bad. And here's the latest twist in the Memphis saga. Kids not old enough to shave are old enough to steal weapons and sell them on the street. "It's a very sad case," Shular said. "And I think it is one of those commentaries on our community.

Will it ever end? Memphis just keeps sliding farther down the pipes. And I thought I could not be surprised by anything that happens here.