Most teenagers use Instagram to connect with their friends and family members, showing off their new make-up, shoes, or latest Snapchat filter. But, unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse for a 13-year-old Atlanta boy who was streaming on Instagram Live when he accidentally shot himself.
Reports say that 13-year-old Malachi Hemphill accidentally shot himself while filming on Instagram Live for about four of his friends. Using the streaming service, the young teen took out his gun to show them. A friend commented wondering why Hemphill didn’t have a clip on his gun. When Hemphill went to investigate, the gun went off and he shot himself live on camera.
His mom, Shaniqua Stevens, said that her son had just taken out the trash for the family in their Atlanta area home before he went upstairs to stream for his friends. A few minutes later, Stevens knew something was off.https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=qvGy4cP_R30
“I heard a big boom. I couldn’t tell if it was a gun shot or what,” she said.
Stevens and Hemphill’s older sister went to Malachi’s room to find that the door was locked. She found this strange, she says, as Hemphill was never known for doing so.
The pair kicked it in to find that the boy had accidentally shot himself. His mother went to turn his phone off and discovered he was still streaming on Instagram Live.
He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The 13-year-old was said to be a student at Forest Park High School in the greater Atlanta area.
Thanks to the power of social media, Stevens says that 40 or 50 students from his school and other friends and acquaintances rushed to Hemphill’s house to see if he was okay after they heard that he had accidentally shot himself. Most wanted to let his parents know that he had just been injured while streaming on the app.
Stevens recalls the event.
“There was about 40 to 50 kids outside. I guess these were the kids that were watching on live that live in the area. I guess when it happened they just ran over here,” she told 11 Alive, an NBC Affiliate in Atlanta.
Hemphill’s grieving parents told 11 Alive that they tried to raise their son the right way and that they often monitored his social media accounts. They also liked to keep tabs on who he was friends with to ensure that he didn’t fall victim to the wrong influence.
Shaniqua Stevens said that this tragedy of her son having accidentally shot himself is one that she hoped could have been prevented by better monitoring his social media, but she admits that many parents feel helpless. Teenagers have always relished keeping secrets from their parents; in modern society, this means that they can keep secrets from their parents while broadcasting information to the world.
Stevens told 11 Alive that she had tried to ensure she was always watching her son’s social media, but that he so often changed his online handles that she couldn’t keep track of which Instagram account he was using that day or week.
Stevens is also not sure how her son acquired the gun he accidentally shot himself with. She states that she thinks he may have gotten it from a friend.
She says she hopes this horrific tragedy which cost her young son’s life will teach parents to be more involved in their children’s lives and that they will continue to ask their children questions about their whereabouts and online activities.
His parents describe him as a talented and smiling young man that they will always remember.
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