Joe Hunter, a former gang member, gives insight into the gang culture. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Cateria Stokes, 15, (left), and Kirsten Williams, 7, (right), were both killed in drive-by shootings on Friday, April 10. (Source: Families)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -
The murder of 7-year-old Kirsten Williams highlighted a dangerous and deadly gang problem in Memphis.
A former gang member chose to provide closer look into the gang culture and said the problem could become much worse if something isn't done to stop it.
Joe Hunter, known to many as Uncle Joe, is a well-known former gang member who said he is disgusted by what is happening in the Bluff City.
"Any gang member out there or any person out there that's shooting a kid, you deserve to die," Hunter said.
Hunter is outraged at the three men, all suspected gang members, who were arrested in connection with Williams' murder.
"They broke a law, not only in the legal world, but also in the illegal world," Hunter said, explaining the unwritten rule for gang members that you don't break. "You don't kill kids. You don't shoot kids. You don't sell dope where kids are."
Williams wasn't the only child to die as a result of gang violence last Friday. Cateria Stokes, 15, was also the victim of a drive-by shooting.
Earlier this week, the WMC Action News 5 Investigators uncovered that more than 1,100 kids were shot or shot at in the last year.
In the case of 7-year-old Williams, investigators say it is not clear whether the shooter meant to shoot Williams or someone else in the home.
Either way, Hunter says the suspects are cowards and fake thugs and they belong behind bars.
"A drive-by shooting is the most coward thing you can do," he said. "Especially when you do it in a neighborhood where you know there are children."
Hunter says the culture of gangs has changed over the years and more innocent kids are becoming victim to senseless crime.
"It's nothing gangster about that. It's nothing mafia about that," Hunter said.
Already working as a youth pastor in Frayser to bring about change, Hunter wants to see more done, but he says it will take everyone pitching in to help.
"We need to be very, very proactive and immediately start putting some things in place to help save new babies," he said. "In the name of the two babies that are dead."
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