Former gang member loses family member to violence - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former gang member loses family member to violence

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

A former gang member made it his mission for young people to put down their guns. The very crime he's fighting against, is what killed his nephew.

Frank Gottie was a gang member for most of his life, but he said an experience with God two years ago motivated him to start the organization and movement called “Put Those Guns Down and Fight Like a Man.”

"'Put Your Guns Down and Fight Like a Man' means fight with your mind, means you fight with your heart and fight with God on your side," Gottie said.

On many weekends, Gottie’s organization teams up with other peace groups to hold rallies against violence. He said that is why it’s so painful to know his nephew, Eduardo Smith, was killed by the same violence he’s been trying to stop.

"Well, we really don't know what happened, we just know he got shot in the front yard,” Gottie said.

Gottie said his nephew was 25 years old and has never been in a gang.

Instead of seeking revenge, Gottie said he’d rather show forgiveness toward the gunman.

“You know, it’s kind of hard so I have to pray, pray very hard, because I know I got to keep on pushing the movement,” Gottie said. “I got to push even harder now, you know, just because it happened at home."

Gottie’s family members are not alone in their grief. According to Memphis Police Department statistics, there have been a total of 81 criminal homicides reported so far this year. That is slightly down from the 95 criminal homicides reported at this time last year.

While this year’s homicide stats don’t reflect much of a drop, Gottie said the fact that fewer people died so far this year gives him hope.

"Yes sir it gives me a lot of hope, you know, as long as it don't go up, that's what we are worried about," Gottie said.

Police are still searching for the gunman that shot Gottie’s nephew.

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