Instagram’s latest feature, Instagram live, allows users the option of broadcasting activities to their followers in real time much like many of the competing live updates and applications on other social media accounts.
The feature can be beneficial to individuals trying to brand themselves or share fun, lighthearted moments. The feature also seems to persuade others to engage in dangerous stunts and broadcast them in order to draw followers or perhaps acquire internet notability.
In the case of 13-year-old Malachi Hemphill, a live Instagram stream with a number of his friends quickly escalated into a fatal accident.
Upon hearing a loud noise upstairs, Malachi’s mother Shaniqua Stephens did not know what to think but had suspected the noise may have been a gunshot.
Shaniqua and her daughter shockingly ran to find Malachi tragically wounded.
Mrs. Stephens claims that her son’s death was an accidental shooting as well. The Forest Park police reported there was no evidence suggesting that Malachi intended his suicide.
Malachi’s sister is the one who noticed her brother was on Instagram live. She informed her mother to turn off his phone, as there were a number of viewers watching when the accident occurred.
Shaniqua’s daughter was correct and Malachi did tragically shoot himself in the head online. Children who lived near immediately gathered outside Malachi’s house once the stream ended.
Mrs. Stephens was told that someone on the live stream asked Malachi why the gun was not loaded. Malachi then proceeded to load the gun to demonstrate to viewers that he was holding a real gun.
Devastatingly, Malachi did not have any moments to spare once he loaded the weapon. An Instagram live viewer stated the gun went off immediately after.
The Stephens are unaware of where the gun came from because they made it a point to monitor their children’s phones, social media accounts, and friends.
They strongly suggest that other parents and guardians stay vigilant. They believe outside influences can infiltrate a young child’s impressionable mind.
Shaniqua and her husband Ernest explain that they were present in their son’s life and do their best to be positive role models for all their children. They urge others to constantly take that extra step in order to ensure tragedies like this don’t happen.
Playing with guns is an incredibly serious issue. Although one may not own a gun in their household or have access to one, guns are easily accessible to anyone looking to attain one, children included.
Detectives are working to determine where the gun came from. They have released a statement on the investigation, mentioning that there is a possibility of criminal charges.
In the statement, Forest Park Police also pleaded with parents to speak to their children about gun safety. Parents should teach children that if they have reason to believe that a friend has a have a gun, they should let an adult know. This can help avoid tragic outcomes like what happened to Malachi.
A vigil was held for 13-year-old Malachi Hemphill by loved ones in his community to mourn and honor his memory.
Friends of Malachi share memories of their dear friend as a friendly and joyous young man. They have decided to honor him by never forgetting him.
Let Malachi’s tragic death remind us all to look out for one another and also report unwarranted behavior on social media before tragic events take place.