Family of boy accidentally shot hope others learn from the tragedy

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- Joy is what 18-month-old Ty'Marion Blacknell brought his grandfather every day.

"He would do anything to make you laugh. He was a comedian already," Carlos Cherry said. "You know that song, 'Happy'? If he heard that come on, he was going to give you a show. He'd throw his binky on the floor. He was funny."

But now Cherry has to rely on old photographs to experience his grandson's joy.

Ty'Marion was accidentally shot last week when his 4-year-old brother found a loaded gun in a nightstand at their father's house in the 1300 block of N. Pennsylvania. The brother picked up the gun and it went off, police said.

He's now preparing for the Friday funeral and burial for Ty'Marion. The funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. at New Jerusalem Church.

"It's like having your soul ripped out of you. There's no way to explain that," Cherry said. "He's what kept happiness around our house."

Cherry remembers getting the call from Wesley Medical Center telling him to come quick. He says Ty'Marion passed away about 45 minutes after he arrived.

"I guess they say God doesn't put more on you than you can handle but I can't hardly handle this and I can't understand why," Cherry said.

While he doesn't know why, he does know how.

Cherry says that Tuesday afternoon, his daughter dropped her son off at Ty'Marion's father's house. That something he says she rarely did.

It wasn't long later that Ty'Marion's 4-year-old brother found a loaded gun in the bedroom in the bed stand. Police say he picked up the gun and it went off, hitting Ty'Marion in the chest.

Cherry says he does not blame anyone. He says it was an accident.

But he's urging people to learn from his family's tragedy.

"I've lost a dear loved one: my grandson. If you have weapons put them up," Cherry said. "Because it can happen to you. It can happen to anyone."

He says by sharing his story, he hopes it will prevent another family from going through something like this. At the same time, he's hoping to make sure the memory of his grandson's joy lives on forever.

"We should have named him, 'Joy,'" Cherry said. "We will always have those memories. We will never forget him."

A fund has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses. You can donate by visiting any Medical Community Credit Union and adding to the Ty'Marion Blacknell Fund.

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