A Memphis father allegedly checking his house for an intruder fatally shot his eight-year old daughter in the chest when he saw her silhouette in a closet and mistook her for a burglar, he told police.
William Oliver, 31, who lives on Timothy Drive in Memphis’s Whitehaven neighborhood, claimed he was using a gun to check his home after the child’s mother said she heard a noise around 2am on August 27, according to an affidavit obtained by the Daily Mail.
Oliver slid back a bedroom closet door and opened fire when he saw a silhouette moving inside. He said that he didn’t realize until moments later that he just shot his daughter, A’layla Bassett.
The victim was rushed to Methodist South Hospital with a bullet in her chest, but died shortly after arriving, according to the Memphis Police Department.
The affidavit adds that Bassett’s mother, Ciera Martin, drove her to the hospital while Oliver followed in a separate car with their four other children, who were also in the home at the time of the shooting. It does not clarify what Oliver’s relationship is to Martin.
Cops apparently did not believe Oliver’s story and the dad was charged with reckless homicide.
William Oliver, 31, allegedly shot and killed his eight-year old daughter, A’layla Bassett, when he mistook her for an intruder
The Memphis father told police that he was checking a bedroom closet when he saw a silhouette move and opened fire
Moments later, he realized that he just shot his eight-year old daughter A’layla Bassett
Bassett was rushed to Methodist South Hospital with a bullet in her chest, but succumbed to her injuries shortly after arriving, according to the Memphis Police Department
The Memphis Police Department tweeted on August 27, ‘At 2.27am, officers responded to a female juvenile shooting victim at Methodist South. The victim did not survive her injuries. Prelim info indicated that she was shot in a home in the 1300 block of Timothy. One male has been detained. The investigation is ongoing.’
A follow up tweet later that day read, ‘William Oliver, 31, was charged with Reckless Homicide in this case.’
Memphis police said the shooting is still under investigation.
A Shelby County inmate search says that Oliver’s bond is set at $112,500. It also reveals that he was previously charged with aggravated assault in August 2019, but further information on that charge is not publicly available.
Bassett’s killing happened the day before the Memphis community rallied against gun violence during its fifth annual Unity Walk.
At a press conference ahead of the march on August 26, Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich stated that 16 children were killed in Memphis, excluding Bassett. Of the deaths, 13 were declared murders and three were ruled as negligent homicides.
Bassett’s killing happened the day before the Memphis community rallied against gun violence during its fifth annual Unity Walk
‘The gun violence is a plague on our community,’ Weirich said, noting that the oldest child victim was 17 and the youngest was just one-year old.
Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis echoed Weirich’s concern. ‘We are tired of gun violence, not just here in Memphis, but around the country,’ she said. ‘We are sick of gun violence. What that does to our community is devastating. We should all be tired of it.’
The night after Bassett was killed, another child fell victim to gun violence about five miles west in Memphis’s White Chapel neighborhood. A 6-year old girl, whose name was not released, was shot and killed after a sibling found a gun and accidentally fired it, a source close to the investigation told local news station
The source added that the adult owner of the gun will most likely face charges for leaving the weapon unsecured. However, no charges have been filed as of now and police are still investigating how the child accessed the gun.