Memphis homicide numbers nearly doubled since 2015

Interim Director Rallings attends rally to stop violence

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis police confirm the number of homicides so far in 2016 has nearly doubled compared to this time last year.

By March 2015, Memphis police had investigated 34 homicides. New numbers WMC Action News 5 tracked down Wednesday say Memphis police are investigating 60 homicides to date.

The city has seen lots of gunshots, tears, and grieving family members.

Among those killed this year was Reginald Burke Jr.  Police say he was shot as he was driving down the Interstate Monday. Investigators say he was a victim of road rage and was shot by a man he did not know.

"The hardest part is just trying to accept that he's gone and isn't coming back," said Reginald Burke, Sr. "My son never deserved that."

Burke's family is grieving and trying to make sense of so much tragedy in the city.

"It's just a hurt that you'll never get over, just a feeling," said Burke's grandfather, Louis Burke.

An Orange Mound pastor and his wife are taking a stand and saying no to violence.  They held a peace rally Wednesday outside the Orange Mound Outreach Ministries Church, trying to bridge the gap between police and the community. They say it takes everyone, including the community, to stop all of the violence.

"We need to take our city back. But it's going to take one person at a time, communities at a time," said pastor Reginald Tucker.

"We feel if we pull them in and put it into their heads that you don't have to go this direction, maybe they'll listen," said Mary Tucker.

Grieving families, community advocates, and police are all sending a similar message--stop the killing.

Memphis Police Interim Director Mike Rallings wasn't available for an interview, but a spokesperson from the department released the following statement:

"MPD is increasing patrols on the interstate as well as having officers show their presence throughout the community. However, we would like to remind the citizens that crime prevention is a collective effort. Citizens must take a stand and not condone violence in our community. If you see something or know something, you must say something.  Together we can work to curb violent crimes throughout the city."

We have reached out to Mayor Jim Strickland's office for a comment about the homicide numbers and we're still waiting for a response.

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