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7-year-old Boy Fatally Shot by Irresponsible Adult Mishandling Loaded Firearm

HARDEMAN COUNTY, TENNESEE – A 7-year-old boy was killed when a loaded firearm discharged while an adult was carelessly and irresponsibly handling it. Jonterrious Vernell Hampton is charged with Reckless Homicide in the child’s death.

Hardeman County Central Dispatch was notified around 4 p.m. on Tuesday that a 7-year-old boy had been shot in Grand Junction. According to the caller, the boy was being rushed to the Bolivar emergency room in a gray Dodge Charger.

Officers with the Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office stopped the car in Hickory Valley and began giving medical assistance until Hardeman County EMS arrived and took over. EMS transported the Bolivar General Hospital, where he later died from his wounds.

Officers took Hampton to the Hardeman County Criminal Justice Center for questioning by investigators. He stated that he was visiting the boy’s home in Grand Junction and was attempting to disassemble another friend’s pistol.  He admitted that he failed to safety check the gun or clear the chamber. During the attempted disassembly, he pulled the trigger, causing the round in the chamber to be discharged, striking the boy.

Neighbors, like Tonita Walton, were struggling to comprehend the tragedy. “He was a very outgoing little boy,” she said. “He always played with my nephew and my son. He ran around the block all day long. He was a good boy.”  She said that the community is coming together to support the boy’s family during this difficult time. “We love y’all and we support y’all,” she said. “If you need anything, we’re just across the street.”

“It’s crazy and shocking,” said Tr’Darius Girley, who lives nearby. “I am praying for the family.” Yet another promising young life lost due to the irresponsibility of an adult.

When handling a firearm, we are always to abide by the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety. When they are followed, tragedies such as this are absolutely negated.

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