MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A deadly weekend in Memphis with seven people shot and killed. All of it contributing to a skyrocketing number of murders this year over last year. It has experts scrambling for answers.
“I got a phone call at work that my brother had been shot. That’s the hardest thing to take right there to get a phone call like that,” said Jerry Hampton.
Hampton’s 32-year-old brother, DeAngelo, a father of four children, was one of two people shot and killed at a market on South Parkway over the weekend. Hampton said he came to the market to get change for his children’s haircuts a block away.
“It’s messed up that the kids had to see this. Two kids with him had to see this,” he said.
The two murders at the market were part of the seven over the weekend happening in different parts of the city. So far this year a dubious record set with 46 murders compared to 29 at this time last year.
“We have a violence problem in our city,” said Memphis Police Department Director Michael Rallings.
It happened on the same weekend Rallings was speaking at a stop the gun violence march in Whitehaven.
“What’s missing our community has not stepped up in a big way so this is an excellent start,” said Ralligs. “This is not something we cannot stop. We can’t just walk around and then come back and do nothing.”
Bill Gibbons executive director of the Public Safety Institute at the University of Memphis and the head of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission agrees saying the community has to make it clear gun violence will not be tolerated.
“Basically we’re in a gun violence epidemic in the middle of a pandemic,” said Gibbons.
Gibbons says he believes studies will show the pandemic has contributed to the violence.
“I think what the studies are going to eventually show, there is some relationship between gun violence and the pandemic,” he said. “That we’re in maybe it is as simple as the increased level of stress of our family members, acquaintances and unfortunately it’s turned into violence far too often.”
“It’s time to put it down. I just lost someone that means the world to me,” said Hampton.
Police and the experts say the public can really help by providing tips. So if you know anything about any homicide call Crime Stoppers 901-528 CASH.