12-year-old boy killed in south Nashville firework accident

Antonio Braden, Killed by fireworks
Antonio Braden

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A 12-year-old Nashville boy died after he was injured in a firework accident in south Nashville Sunday night.

Metro police reported Antonio Braden, who lived on Carroll Street, was with a group of kids on Lewis Street setting off bottle rockets and roman candles around 10:40 p.m.

A 24-year-old allegedly began setting off artillery-type firework shells that he told police he purchased at a fireworks stand outside of Davidson County.

Antonio Braden, Killed by fireworks
Antonio Braden

The man set off several shells when he reportedly noticed two juveniles grab a few of the unexploded shells. Police said he then asked the 12-year-old to retrieve one from a friend.

The friend then threw the shell, causing it to break. The 24-year-old said next thing he knew, Antonio was holding the now-damaged shell tube toward the sky while another juvenile was lighting it.

The shell reportedly made a strange noise before Antonio ran about 30 feet then collapsed.

A young woman watching said Antonio may have instinctively looked inside the fireworks tube wondering why it didn’t go off at first.

“I don’t know if they looked down in it to say, ‘Oh man it’s a dud,’ and then boom,” added the witness. “But it did not start shooting stuff, just made a big explosion like a real bomb.”

The spot on a nearby street where he fell is marked by mementos from friends and family.

The 24-year-old and another man carried the boy to a car and drove him to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The grief is beyond heartbreak for the family of the 12-year-old.

“It is Hell,” said Antonio’s distraught grandmother, Wilma Braden, who raised him. “His mama is paralyzed so I had to take on the whole family. Antonio was a good child, there’s nothing bad to say about him.”

No charges have been filed yet as the police department’s Youth Services Division and the Hazardous Devices Unit continue to investigate.

Officers are working to recover and properly dispose of approximately one dozen of the artillery firework shells left behind at the scene.

Anyone with knowledge of where the missing fireworks are is asked to contact the Communications Center at 615-862-8600.

The Metro Nashville Police Department wants to remind Nashvillians it is illegal to use fireworks in Davidson County with the exception of properly permitted public displays. Violations can result in the issuance of citations and the confiscation of fireworks.

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