12-year-old Artemis Rayford wrote to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee last year, saying “I am a sixth-grader…and it is my opinion that this new law will be bad, and people will be murdered.”
In his letter, Artemis told Lee (R) that his school’s anti-violence initiative with the Memphis Police Department had been discussing a law that went into effect in July, allowing people 21 and older and military service members 18 and up to carry a weapon without any training or permit.
Rayford was murdered on Christmas morning when Memphis police say a stray bullet took his life. Joyce Newson says her grandson, who she called “Shun,” was inside his home, playing with his Christmas presents, when bullets struck him.
Newson says she hopes her grandson’s letter will inspire the change needed to finally bring an end to gun violence.
Meili Powell, Rayford’s former teacher, spoke on his tragic death via Facebook.
“When I think about students who made a profound impact on me, Artemis always stands out as one of the most kind-hearted, loving, & persistent kids. I vividly remember my first day meeting him with our 3rd grade homeroom class in 2018: my principal saw him giving me a hug before leaving at the end of the day during dismissal & said, “I see you have a new best friend, Ms. Powell.”
So far no arrests have been made in Artemis Rayford’s death. If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.