One Middle Schooler Critical, Two Others Injured in Library Shooting

Three young boys are injured, one of them critically, after a shooting at a Memphis, Tennessee, area library.

The incident occurred Thursday just after 3 p.m. CT at the Whitehaven branch of the Memphis Public Library system, according to a tweet from the Memphis Police Department (MPD). The library is located next to Robert Church Elementary, which was briefly placed on lockdown when news of the shooting broke.

The shots reportedly rang out as a result of a fight that had occurred between students at a nearby middle school, the MPD said.

The shooting resulted in three middle-school-age boys being injured and transported to the nearby Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. An 11-year-old remains in critical condition, according to the MPD.

Memphis Police
A shooting in a Memphis, Tennessee, area library has left three children injured. At least one of the kids remains in critical condition, and a nearby elementary school was placed on lockdown. The shooter remains at large as the investigation continues. Here, a Memphis Police car can be seen. Raymond Boyd/Getty

Police have not revealed the ages of the other two boys that were injured, but did say that they were both in stable condition.

The parents and guardians of all three victims have been notified, police said.

While the shooter fled the scene and remains at large, the MPD told local reporters that the identity of the suspect was known. No arrests have been made at this time, and the investigation remains ongoing.

One witness to the shooting reportedly told WREG-TV that they saw a man firing a gun out of a vehicle. This detail has not been confirmed by the MPD.

Additionally, a video tweeted by WREG-TV still showed a heavy police presence outside of the crime scene three hours after the shooting occurred.

In a statement to the media, the Memphis-Shelby County School District said: "We are aware of an incident in the community of Robert R. Church Elementary. Out of abundance of caution, the school was placed on a precautionary lockdown while police responded."

"All MSCS schools have an emergency response plan," the statement continued. "Robert R. Church Elementary implemented its plan immediately and directly notified parents regarding dismissal procedures."

"Safety remains our top priority at MSCS, and we will continue to follow District safety protocols and cooperate with our partners in law enforcement," the statement added. "We also recognize that reducing crime in our city and among youth takes a collective and collaborative effort that involves the community, parents, law enforcement and other key stakeholders."

Whitehaven, the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, is best known for being the location of Graceland, the home of rock 'n' roll icon Elvis Presley. The mansion remains one of the most visited private houses in the country.

In recent years, Whitehaven, along with many other portions of Memphis, have seen a rise in the level of violent crimes.

Statistics from the Memphis city website reported 2,576 violent crimes in the last three months of 2021, in addition to 781 in January 2022 alone. Memphis overall ended 2021 with 400 more violent crimes than the pandemic-stricken year of 2020.

Memphis is also consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S., although local officials have been working to implement reforms aimed at reducing the rate of violence.

The MPD directed Newsweek to their previous Twitter statement when reached for comment.

Newsweek has also reached out to the Memphis Public Libraries for comment.