Gang violence hits home in Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gang violence hits home in Memphis

Neighbors along South Mendenhall are still reeling from what happened here.

"I was just shocked," says one neighbor.

"Yea, it's scary," says another.

Gunfire rang out just after four o'clock Monday. Three young men were shot. Two of them died in what police call a possible gang-related crime.

"I have children, that hurts," says Earline Fitzgerald. "That hurts because that's somebody's son and it could have been mine," she adds.

It could have been her. Experts say gang violence often poses a risk to the public.

"There's a number of cases we have here where the victims are completely innocent," says Ray Lepone of the Shelby County District Attorney's Office. Lepone works in the Gang Prosecution Unit.

"It's that old statement, let them kill each other because it's gang on gang," says Lepone. "And that is in fact not the case," he adds.

The shooting on Mendenhall was the second recent shooting in a public area possibly tied to gangs. Two teens were shot at the McFarland Community Center in South Memphis.

Police say a number of people could have been caught in the cross-fire.

"You know, if we don't address this problem, then we're all in danger when gang members are doing what they're doing out on our streets," says Lepone.

Fitzgerald and her neighbors just hope to avoid another scene like the one Monday night.

"It was terrible, it was terrible," says Fitzgerald. "Something has to be done about this," she adds.

"I hate to think what could have happened," says another neighbor.

The DA's office often reaches out to schools to try and educate children about the dangers of gangs. As far as "innocent by-standers" avoiding gang-related violence? Experts say there's not much you can do.

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