Grief Hovers Over Westwood After Community Center Shooting

(Memphis) Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is promising to weed out thugs after yesterday’s shooting outside the Westwood Community Center.  

Wharton was on the crime scene as investigators worked the homicide of 18-year-old Devail Lewis Wednesday.

He was doing some tough talking to reporters doing a downtown event today.

“Don’t take our efforts to reach out and be comprehensive as weak. Awh, they’re going to hug a thug. We’re going to kick a thug when it’s necessary,” said Wharton.

Tonight, those closest to the young victim showed News Channel 3 where Lewis was sitting on a bench when someone from inside a nearby ditch opened fire on the area.

Today, just a few feet away is a sign of the grief that has overcome this neighborhood. A small group of stuffed animals lay near the spot where he died.

“I was on my way to work and my son called me and told me something had happened in the neighborhood. Mama what’s going on and he said it’s grandma’s grandson,” said Vester Lobbins a family friend.

Lobbins is just one of the many people stopping by Lewis’ grandmother’s home to offer condolences. 

Outside the home is a sign that reads “Stop the Killing, Our Youth, Our Future”.

 “Vail he was sweet. That was my God brother. He didn’t harm anybody. Just his time to go. The bullets just hit him,” said Jarico Holst, Westwood.

Lewis’ grandmother told News Channel 3 she is hurting. 4 years ago, she buried Devail’s brother. He was shot and killed at 17. Devail just barely made it to his 18th birthday.

“I was hurting because it could have been my son. It could have been my granddaughter,” said Lobbins.

There have been no arrests, just sorrow and disbelief how something so tragic could happen in broad daylight outside a community center and park.

Lobbins said, “He’s okay but the mother, the sisters and the brothers left here got to live with that grief.”

The shooting happened after school hours around 4 o’clock or so a lot of kids were in the park and at the community center.

Grief counselors were at nearby schools today.

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