The father and son were at the mall shopping for Christmas gifts when the tragic incident occured.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 10, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger Warning: This story mentions gun violence that may be disturbing to readers.
For one family, a happy Christmas shopping trip turned deadly after a father holding a baby was shot outside Oak Court Mall in Memphis, Tennessee.
The father, Jayson Hill, died from his injuries sustained from the gunshots. The 9-month-old boy, Jaylen Hill, was also shot multiple times. He is currently fighting for his life at the hospital, according to FOX13 Memphis.
Family members said Jaylen was shot five times while his father held him in his arms, per WREG. Yasmine Mitchell, who is Jaylen’s aunt, said he was shot in his cheek, neck, hand, foot, and thigh.
Baby boy fights for life after being shot in his father’s armshttps://t.co/IA9xIvkgYu— Gregory Becton (@GregoryBecton2) December 4, 2021
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Mother Danielle Barnes, 19, revealed that her partner and son were at the mall shopping for Christmas gifts when the tragic incident occurred. Now her husband is no more and her son will have to spend the holiday season fighting for his life in the hospital. Aunt Mitchell also added that he might have to spend anywhere from six to eight months in the hospital.
“He’s going to have to spend his first Christmas in the hospital. He’s going to have to spend his first birthday in the hospital,” Mitchell said. “Now, I’m being told eventually he may have to be fed through this stomach.”
Barnes was reportedly at home when she heard about the shooting. “It’s horrible to see your child who was a healthy baby when he left with his father at noon and when you see him at seven o’clock, he’s shot up,” Barnes said. “They was going to the mall to get Christmas gifts — didn’t make it back home,” she said.
“You could not tell that was my child when we went down there to see him. We didn’t know who that baby was, but it was my son,” she said.
“He was just taking Jaylen to the mall that day to buy him some shoes and some things for Christmas,” Mitchell said, of the 21-year-old man who didn't survive.
Even after a couple of weeks since the horrifying incident, police are still on the lookout for the person who allegedly drove up in a silver Chevy Malibu. Investigators posted pictures of a person of interest on social media.
“We definitely need justice,” Mitchell said, adding that she doesn't know what was the motive behind the shooting.
“He was a hardworking man. He worked two jobs. He also cut hair,” Mitchell said. “Like he’s very got his head straight on, you know, as a young man. So, I don’t see how someone could have done it to him and why would they do that to him and he had his child as well.”
Now, all Barnes wants is for the suspect to be arrested before her son's first birthday in February, adding that it would be the best birthday gift ever. “How would you feel if someone walked out the mall and shot your child and shot your husband” How would you feel? My point exactly. You don’t know how to feel because it’s not you,” Barnes said.
The family is now working towards giving their beloved Jayson a proper funeral. Meanwhile, the little boy's medical bills are adding up fast and the family has set up a GoFundMe to help with the expenses.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe | 9 month Jaylen’s Story