Student murder may be gang-related - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Student murder may be gang-related

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - School board member Kenneth Whalum, Jr. says violence at Hamilton High School has reached a critical level.

The murder of a student may be tied to a gang fight at the school.

17-year-old Rozelle Green was gunned down on Cannon Street in South Memphis on Wednesday evening, just hours after a massive melee at Hamilton High.

"It's sad when you see a young person right before your eyes, gasping for life," said witness Carolyn Cathey.
  
Hamilton High was on lockdown Thursday morning following news of Green's murder.

Green, a senior at the school, was involved in a fight there just hours before his violent death.
 
According to a police affidavit, a "large gang fight involving Crips and Bloods on the 3rd floor with approximately 150 students in the hallway."
    
It goes on to say, "the defendants were all fighting, and the crowd was in a state of anger".
     
Memphis Police are investigating if there's a link between Green's murder and the gang-related fight.

Whalum says he believes the blame for the violence may rest with the district itself. "I cannot imagine just the shear nervousness one must feel when their kid leaves home going to school in the morning, man."

Whalum traces the trouble back to when the district folded Southside High School into two other schools, including Hamilton, bringing rival neighborhoods and gangs together.
     
"And they begged us not to do it, but we did it anyway -- and see what the possible result is?" he said.
     
The most recent incident follows a violent series of events at Hamilton, including a shooting last year.
 
"If they've got enough nerve to engage in gang fights at school, they've got enough to bring weapons to school," said Whalum.
     
He says daily metal detector screenings and increased security are only short-term solutions. The district, he says, should actually study the feasibility of resurrecting Southside High.
    
District officials had no comment Thursday.
            
 

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