Shaquille O’Neal has volunteered to pay for the funeral of Atlanta teen Malachi Hemphill, who accidentally killed himself while streaming on Instagram’s live feature.
According to NBC 11, Hemphill lost his life Monday (April 10). While showing friends the weapon in an Instagram live stream, he was told to put the safety on. As he tried to, the gun went off. “I heard a big boom. I couldn’t tell if it was gun shot or what,” his mother, Shaniqua Stephens told WXIA. “I just knew that it was something that was wrong.”
The family shared that Shaquille O’Neal visited their home Friday (April 13) to give his condolences and pay for the funeral. Malachi’s grandmother Shantirea Bankston told reporters they were touched by gesture. “We just broke down and started crying because Malachi didn’t have any insurance,” Bankston said. “We weren’t prepared to bury him this young. We didn’t have insurance for him. So to have that from Shaquille O’Neal it was a blessing and very touching, and we appreciate everything he do for the community.”
The retired Laker currently co-hosts Inside the NBA, which is filmed in Atlanta. O’Neal released a statement about the tragic incident. “No mother should have to go through this,” he said. “I can only imagine the pain that she and all of Malachi’s family must be feeling.”
Police beleive the teen found the gun in the trash in his neighborhood. Bankston told reporters she thinks some of the teen’s friends might’ve known about the gun days before his death. “If one person, one or two people would have called his mom and let her know that he was playing with this gun, he may still be here today,” she said. “That’s the message we are trying to put out there: if you see something, say something. And Maybe Malachi would still be here with his friends dancing and joking around.”
Shaq is no stranger to good deeds. The legend paid for the funeral of Shaniya Davis, the five-year-old who was murdered in 2009 after her mother reportedly sold her into sexual slavery. He also donated 2,500 pounds of pasta to the Greater Boston Food Bank the following year.