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Mayor Wharton Speaks About Oak Court Mall Shooting

(Memphis) Police are on the hunt for 20-year-old Otis Reddic. He's wanted for shooting a 22-year-old man in the middle of Oak Court Mall this week.

Almost the moment I stepped onto Oak Court Mall's parking lot, mall security told me I had to go. We were kicked off by mall security just a few days after a gunman fired shots at a man's chest inside the mall. The shooting sparked panic all around the city and having us firing questions about public safety.

“Until we deal with the cancer, it’s going to spread,” said Memphis Mayor AC Wharton.

Wharton points out that when crime happens it happens everywhere, that's why he plans on asking city council to expand the Memphis Gun Down program, already in Raleigh and South Memphis, to all areas of the city.

But what else can be done to avoid shooting's like the one Thursday night?

“For me or any other elected official to guarantee a plan so that nothing like this ever happens again, that’s just a big lie and I'm not going to do that,” said Wharton.

But Mayor Wharton says he does promise to push for more police patrols and programs to get stolen guns of the streets of Memphis.

He says the city also needs to have an open and honest conversation.

“We don’t like to talk about race because we are in post racial society. When it comes to crime in this city, it is young black males between the ages of 17 and 24 years,” said Wharton.

Wharton stresses for things too change, there needs to be more programs and mentoring positively impacting the lives of young African-American males; giving them a sense of pride and wanting a bright future.

“When you say we, is that just your administration and the city? Or is that everyone?” asked WREG’s Elise Preston.

“That's everybody, I wouldn’t want a government big enough to do it all,” said Wharton.

Mayor Wharton says strides also need to be made in gun control, but as mayor he doesn’t have that kind of power.

He says people in support of gun control reform; need to contact our state lawmakers.

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