Clarksdale shooting violence has town on edge - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Clarksdale shooting violence has town on edge

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CLARKSDALE, MS - (WMC-TV) – Viewers came to Action News 5 for answers after a surge of violent shootings in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

There were at least six incidents this past weekend, and community members want something done. 

Clarksdale Police report that none of the shooting victims sustained life-threatening injuries, but bullet holes in car windows leave behind evidence of the incidents.

Christopher Hodges, 23, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault for one of the incidents.

"It has been really bad the last couple of months, and people are talking about moving," said concerned citizen Katara Tyler.

Police Captain Robbie Linley estimated around two dozen shootings in the past five or six months.

He said bullets have been fired at people and into cars and homes.

"There is some gang involvement in some of these shootings, some have been domestic related shootings, and some appear to be drug related," Linley said.

So what's the problem?

Citizens I talked with wonder if the police department needs help.

I asked Clarksdale Mayor Henry Espy if he felt the department had everything at their disposal to fight the violent crime.

"I bet you they're going to see, the community is going to see," Espy responded.

But how long will this fearful city have to wait?

According to Mayor Espy, help is already on the way, from as high as the federal level.

"I met with the board, the interim chief, the sheriff, and the FBI," Espy said.

Captain Linley said that other agencies were assisting, as the local departments triples patrols.

Linley estimated the town had around 40 officers.

A number of authorities and city leaders recently met with desperate citizens like Tyler for an emergency community meeting to try and stop the violence.

"If the churches can get involved and adopt a neighborhood, I think that would really help the crime as well," Tyler said.

Tyler's group will apply for grants in hopes of funding a YMCA or Boys and Girls club.

Along with additional patrols, and federal assistance, Linley is pleading with residents to speak up about what they see.

"In some of these cases," Linley continued. "We have had some people who have been there but say they don't see anything."

I asked the Mississippi Attorney General's Office if it was involved and a spokesman told me by email Friday that their office was not.

If you'd like to get involved with the community group, we have a flyer here.

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