Father and Grandfather in Tennessee Charged After 4-Year-Old’s Accidental Death

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two family members face charges nearly two years after a four-year-old boy accidentally shot himself and died in Germantown.

The boy’s father, out on bond for a prior shooting, is currently free on an $80,000 bond. Prosecutors may seek a higher amount during his hearing in July.

Jerry Anderson III, known as Tre, passed away just days before his fifth birthday.

Jerry Anderson Jr. and Jerry Anderson Sr. face charges of Aggravated Child Abuse, Criminally Negligent Homicide, and Theft of a Firearm, as indicated in a May 14 indictment.

Police report that Tre was in his father’s care at his paternal grandparents’ home when he found a gun and accidentally shot himself on June 22, 2022.

The indictment claims both men neglected Tre, leading to his fatal injuries. It also states that the firearm was stolen, but does not specify how or why it was in their possession.

The autopsy, shown to us by Tre’s maternal grandmother, attributes his death to “suspected homicide.”

“This is not the child’s fault. This is not Tre’s fault,” said his grandmother, Elizabeth Covington.

Although WREG requested the autopsy in July 2022, the medical examiner’s office has not yet provided it.

Covington, however, shared the report with WREG. It notes that Jerry Anderson Sr. kept a weapon in a bedroom drawer, which Tre reportedly found and fatally shot himself with.

Tre’ Anderson

At the time of the incident, Anderson Jr. was out on bond for numerous charges, including two counts of Criminal Attempt First-Degree Murder and Aggravated Assault – Acting in Concert.

In July 2020, authorities allege Anderson Jr. and others fired multiple rounds at an occupied home on McLemore Avenue, resulting in 130 spent shell casings. Three people, including a toddler and a 70-year-old, were injured.

In February, Anderson Jr. pleaded to lesser charges and received eight years probation. This week, he and his father were back in jail.

Tre’s mother recalled being on her way to pick up Tre when she received the call about the shooting.

She questioned why a gun was left accessible to a child and why no one was supervising Tre.

“I was banging on the doors. I got in there and I saw my baby lifeless, shot. I just fell. I couldn’t do anything for him,” Tre’s mother said.

The WREG Investigators inquired with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office regarding the delay in presenting the case to a grand jury.

A spokesperson attributed the delay to a change in the prosecutor and the time required for law enforcement and the Department of Children’s Services to gather evidence.

Covington expressed her anger over the delay. “Two adults who left a loaded gun, a stolen and loaded gun out, for a child to reach. Then the system just turned a blind eye and they just put them back out on the street and nothing is done,” she said.

The next court appearance for Anderson Jr. and Sr. is on July 8. According to the county’s jail log, both have been released on $80,000 bond.

In the meantime, Tre’s mother recently gave birth to a baby boy in the hospital, a brother Tre will never meet.

“Tre wanted a little brother. It was sad that he didn’t live to see his little brother,” she said.

Jessica Gertler
Jessica Gertler
Investigative Reporter. An award-winning journalist, Jessica has made it her mission to serve the community and give a voice to the voiceless. She received an Emmy nomination for her interview with a confessed serial killer. Jessica is a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville where she studied journalism and electronic media. She's also a proud mother to her son Walker and rescue dog Rocky.

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