MEMPHIS, TN— Another deadly weekend in Memphis streets led to an emergency meeting between Mayor A C Wharton and Police Director Toney Armstrong. Three shootings, three deaths, and police are calling all three homicides, all of them happened within 24hours.
On a day recognizing those who best exemplify the peaceful doctrines of Doctor Martin Luther King Junior at Bloomfield Full Gospel Church in Southwest Memphis, tragedy struck.
"They called and said do you know how many folks have been killed this weekend? You don't like to get those calls,” said Mayor Wharton as he addressed the church crowd. He was a guest speaker for the program but had to leave early after receiving that call from Director Armstrong.
The first shooting happened early Sunday morning, around 1am at an Express Mart 4002 Knight Arnold in Southeast Memphis. Witnesses tell police it might have been a drug deal gone bad. Twelve hours later and 3 miles away police responded to another shooting in the 4500 block of Villagreen. Police found a 20-year old man dead. Investigators say the victim's bother-in-law shot him in the head. Neighbors fear they're next.
"I got kids in here so you never know where the bullets could go,” said a neighbor Rickey Clemons. “Ain’t no names on bullets, you don't want to be a victim out here and it's hard."
The mayor says he's doing all he can to protect the citizens of Memphis but he can't do it alone.
"Police is not sole the answer,” said Mayor Wharton as he addressed the people in Bloomfield Church. “We can't put police cars in every yard, in every corner but you in these church halls can put a prayer over every square inch in this city.”
Thirty minutes, after the second shooting a third shooting left another person dead, this time in North Memphis. Around 1:30pm on Sunday police found another 20-year old man shot in the chest in the 13 hundred block of Stanridge. The motive is still unclear.
"This is crazy because I know these people,” said Clemons. “You can’t do anything but put them
in your prayers."
But prayer may not be enough.
"This is a wake up call. It's not going to go unnoticed,” Mayor Wharton told abc24 news. “We can't continue to allow them to bring the mayhem and murder to our streets."
Mayor Wharton says in the next two weeks he will try to implement new laws. He wants higher bail for those using illegal guns, speedy trials for gun crimes, and stiffer punishments for those who steal guns.
Police have made only one arrest, connected to one of the three shootings on Sunday. If you have any information call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.