An overnight investigation into the death of a 12-year-old leads police to arrest his brother as the alleged killer. It's another tragedy in a region that's no stranger to heart ache during the holidays.
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch recalled Wednesday the deadly Knox County bus crash of December 2014 and the shooting death of Zaevion Dobson in December 2015.
A 13-year-old will appear Thursday in juvenile court to face a charge he killed his younger brother Tuesday night at their northwest Knoxville home.
"Gun violence is a complicated issue, but these types of incidents are so preventable,” explained
Beth Joslin Roth.
Roth is policy director for the Safe Tennessee Project, which tracks gun violence across the state. She thinks gun control laws like the proposed MaKayla's Law, named for 8-year-old MaKayla Dyer, who was shot and killed by an 11-year-old neighbor in White Pine in October 2015, could have made a difference in this week's shooting.
The bill would have held parents accountable for crimes that children committed with their guns.
"There is a good chance that having these types of laws on the books will serve as a deterrent, will force parents to think about how they store their guns," she said.
Many Tennessee lawmakers, however, disagreed. The bill died in session.
When it comes to cases of alleged juvenile violence, child psychologist Dr. Diana McCoy explained it's difficult to examine a young person who is going through physical and mental growth spurts.
"Not the greatest judgment in the world, poor impulse control, not really foreseeing consequences, high risk behavior,” is how McCoy the development of the adolescent mind.
McCoy believes investigators will look at the child's life and relationships in the home and at school.
"A lot of that would have to do with what the child's seen as a means of dealing with problems. Do we do it by force, do we use violence, do we out-shout the other person? Or do we use words as a means of addressing the other person,” explained McCoy.
WBIR 10News legal analyst Don Bosch believes this case will remain in Knox County Juvenile Court.
Prosecutors would have to ask for the case to be moved to adult court, and then Judge Tim Irwin would have to study a number of factors before moving the case.
"What are the circumstances and the background of the juvenile? Has the juvenile been in trouble before? Has the juvenile not been successful in treatment programs before,” asked Bosch.