There have been a number of notable criminal cases involving juveniles in Memphis, Tennessee recently, from a car theft ring that included kids as young as 10-years old to a pair of 15-year olds who are accused of murdering a pastor outside of her home, but the recent arrests of Lashuna and Abrianna Taylor may be the most disturbing story yet.
The mother and daughter have been charged with slew of offenses after police say they provided guns to several teenagers and actually acted as the teens’ getaway drivers from the scenes of multiple armed robberies in recent weeks.
On Aug. 7, officers said a male victim was shot in the left arm while he was in a laundromat. The victim told police that a male and female pointed guns at him and demanded money, and the woman fired a shot, hitting the victim, before taking his phone and driving away.
On Aug. 9, Memphis police responded to a robbery, where a victim said a man and woman got out of a car and approached him, before demanding his money while the woman pointed a gun at him. He was not hurt, and the suspects took his phone and wallet.
Police said they were called to two robberies on Aug. 10. In the first robbery, a man said that two males, one armed with a gun, approached him and demanded his property or he would shoot. The victim ran away to a nearby gas station and was not hurt.
Just three minutes after that call, police said they were called to another robbery where a victim said he was approached by two males in his driveway who took his phone and then ran away. That victim was able to provide the license plate number of the car the suspects got into.
Police caught up with the suspects — who included two 14-year-old boys — and arrested them.
According to authorities the teens confessed to their crimes, but also pointed the finger at Lashuna Taylor, telling police that she was the one behind the wheel of the SUV that took them to and from the scene of their crimes.
Taylor allegedly confessed as well, and her daughter was soon implicated in the robberies.
Abrianna Taylor, identified as the driver of the car identified by the last victim, was arrested and admitted to shooting a victim while trying to rob him, WHBQ reported. Abrianna also told police that she gave one of the boys involved in the robberies her gun and admitted to committing several robberies with them.
So what’s the gun control law that’s supposedly going to stop this from happening? Universal background checks? A “red flag” law? How about a waiting period before illegally giving a handgun to a 14-year old?
The answer here isn’t to toss another gun law on the books, but to throw the book at every adult who aided, abetted, and perhaps even directed these teenagers to rob people at gunpoint. No plea deal, no reduced sentence, no slap on the wrist. Take them to trial, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, publicize their sentences if convicted, and promise the same for any other adult who tries to use a juvenile as a human shield for their criminal activity. I’m not holding my breath that will happen, but its time for Memphis to send a message to those who believe they can avoid serious prison time by having juveniles commit crimes for them.