MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Three juveniles and an adult were injured in a shooting at Jesse Turner Park, located at Bellevue Boulevard and South Parkway.
Bullets grazed the juveniles, who are between 13 and 16 years old. They were taken to LeBonheur in non-critical condition.
The adult was taken to Regional Medical Center in critical condition.
Witnesses said they heard as many as 20 shots and saw one victim hit the ground.
The juveniles ran from the park to the 1300 block of Orgill. They were visibly shaken up, and told police they saw two or three men running in another direction.
Police say they suspect the shooting was random.
But Delvin Lane, a former gang member who now goes around Memphis teaching children how to stay away from gangs, isn’t buying into the possibility this shooting may have been random.
“People getting shot over here today proves something is going on,” he said. “What we are trying to do is give the kids a new mindset! A new value system.”
People in South Memphis say this park is a known meeting place for local gangs. Lane says this lifestyle is appealing to the younger crowd, but all of the violence they see sets a terrible tone for the next generation of Memphians.
“You see Facebook, YouTube, everyday there 50 new fights on there, those fights end in stabbing a, shootings, and violence. We have to change that,” Lane said.
Just last year, nine kids were arrested for murder in Memphis. Two hundred were arrested for aggravated assault.
Lane says oftentimes these kids are acting in retaliation.
Fifteen-year-old Guylind Key was across the street when the shooting happened.
“I’ve seen a lot of fights. Violence.”
Key comes to the park almost every day. Friday, police tape kept most kids away while detectives searched for evidence to help them find a shooter.
“I was standing over there and heard 18 gunshots. Everyone ran over here. Looked like he got shot in the knee caps, nobody really knows,” said Key.
The baseball fields and basketball courts at Jesse Turner are a draw for the kids, but they may have to find a new place to go after the violence that broke out here Friday.
“I ain’t gonna be up here no more,” Key said. “Fighting is one thing, shooting? I ain’t got time for that.”
People on scene tell me Jesse Turner park is a well known meeting spot for gangs. Use playground as a disguise.—
Molly Smith (@Molly_WREG3) June 13, 2014