Teen charged after 10-year-old shot at youth community center, police say
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) - The Knoxville Police Department is investigating after a 10-year-old was shot at the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center, communications manager Scott Erland told WVLT Wednesday.
A 10-year-old boy was apparently accidentally shot around 9:45 a.m. and taken to a hospital in critical but stable condition, Erland and dispatch officials said, but a 14-year-old was taken into custody for further investigation.
“I had the opportunity to visit with the family of the young boy shot today at the Phyllis Wheatley Center. My heart goes out to him, his family, the compassionate and caring staff at the YWCA, and all of those impacted by today’s events,” said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon.
Erland gave an update Wednesday afternoon, saying the gun was inside the 14-year-old’s backpack and accidentally went off inside the center’s gym. The teen then left the center, Erland said, and was detained by officers a few blocks away and charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment.
He added that officers found two handguns on the teen’s person.
In a statement, YWCA spokespersons said parents were immediately informed after emergency services were called, and the children were being picked up from the facility.
Officials added that they plan to review safety protocols for the future.
“The safety of the children and staff is the utmost priority of the YWCA. YWCA will determine immediate next steps for review of safety protocols, as well as resources for children and staff following this traumatic event,” they said.
YWCA spokespersons also said that there were 43 children signed in at the center when the shooting happened.
No other injuries were reported and there’s no active threat, Erland said.
The program will be open on Thursday with counselors available to help, according to YWCA officials.
Copyright 2023 WVLT via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.