Mayor ‘mad as hell’ at homicide rate in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Mayor Jim Strickland feels heartbreak with this year’s homicide count.

“But I’m also mad as hell,” he said.

Strickland said he's mad someone can take another’s life, let alone 214 of them.

“People who are doing this need to realize we have a great Memphis Police Department. They will find you. They will arrest you. They will take you to jail."

Memphis police said they’re at a 74 percent solve rate.

One unsolved crime is the shooting death of 24-year-old Zarius Brown. Brown’s family said it’s possible he was set up by someone who came to his house.

“He called my son out of the kitchen to show him something on his phone and as soon as my son stepped into the living room, gunshots started firing through the sliding door glass,” said Natasha Echols, the victim's mom.

She said 17 bullets flew, with her son being caught in it all.

“I'm just still kind of in shock because I can't believe somebody hated him that much that they wanted him dead,” said Echols.

She said her son being a rapper could’ve been a motive and also heard he may have owed someone money. All she wants to see is an arrest.

The city said it’s working on that while also trying to stop the murder rate from going even higher.

Mayor Strickland wants to bring in more officers.

“We need more of them," he said. "We need to retain our officers and recruit more. We've worked with the officers now, we've raised their pay.”

He said he’d also like to see harsher punishments for criminals and have them complete their full sentences.

Agencies on the local, county and state level are all working together to tackle this crime and using plans that proved successful in places like New Orleans.

“Every homicide, every person that dies in a fire, it weighs heavy on me and I really try to turn that into more drive and more action, but it's hard,” said Strickland.

The city also pleas for the community to step up and get involved, whether that’s talking to your children about violence or volunteering at a local school.