Juvenile homicides on the rise in Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis has seen fewer homicide cases this year than it did last year. You may remember 2016 set a homicide record for the city.

But now a different trend is emerging--more juveniles are dying from gun violence, and the year is not even over.

Natasha Walker is trying to find peace by decorating her son's grave for Christmas, yet she's still hurt.

"Christmas is not going to be good for me. That was my baby,,  and I miss him so much," she said.

Her son, Jaheim Walker, a sophomore football player at Overton High School, was only 15 when his dreams were cut short after he was shot and killed back in January. He was riding in a car and someone opened fire.

According to Memphis Police Department, Jaheim is one of 17 juveniles killed so far this year--compared to 11 killed all of last year.

"I moved here from New Orleans thinking my baby would have a future here; he didn't make it," Natasha said.

She's angry knowing juvenile homicides are on the rise in Memphis.

"Can we just please get a little peace? Parents don't deserve to bury their kids," Natasha said.

Former gang member Delvin Lane has led prayer circles and meetings around town, working to bring change.

He said he's also working with juvenile court through a new program giving first-time offenders an alternative to sitting behind bars.

"They would have to report to us and we do an assessment on them and find out their educational needs, their socioeconomic needs," Lane said.

So moms like Natasha Walker can find peace.

"I'm hurting, hurt every day," she said.

Lane said he's hosting more meetings and prayer circles soon, but now needs more of us to get involved in mentoring our youth.

MPD said their working alongside community partners to fight juvenile crime.

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