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New data reveals more about 2016 homicides in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The tragedies seemed never-ending with each story becoming harder to hear.

The victims were parents, grandparents, children, teachers, college students and store owners, and each left behind families destroyed.

"It's breaking me down. It's breaking me down. I can't function right now. It's tearing me apart," said Barbara Jeans.

Her son died last April when someone opened fire into his car on Dempster. Shortly after, detectives knocked on her door, asking if the man in the picture was her son.

"When I turned the picture over, there was my son Gerail Jeans," she said.

Her son was just one of 228 homicides last year.

See homicide maps and charts for Memphis in 2016

"Do we have a murder problem? Heck yes we do!" said Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings.

Rallings said police cannot solve the problem alone. Homicides are too difficult to predict and prevent.

"It's one the most complex issues a community can deal with, so putting the facts out to me is critical," he said.

Rallings and his team studied every case last year and broke down the data. The first thing they looked at were motives. They said most stemmed from gangs, drugs, guns and domestic violence.

Out of the 158 cases solved, 48 victims didn't know their killer.

"You see a pattern that just jumps out at you," he said.

The most murders happened in the 38127 zip code which is the Frayser area. The airport area and Parkway Village were a close second.

The data also indicated most murders happened on Fridays and Saturdays, but surprisingly, Monday was the deadliest day. Approximately 40 people were killed just on Mondays.

Twenty-three homicides happened between 11 p.m. and midnight, with the majority being recorded in the overnight hours.

"Most of these incidents happened late at night, and people need to be at home. Your kids! You should know where your children are at," said Rallings.

He also pointed out 200 victims were African Americans, mostly over the age of 31.

A majority of the suspects were between 18 and 24 years old. Some of them were felons.

"When 18 percent of the suspects are repeat offenders, then we have a recidivism problem," he said.

Rallings said the department is using that data to determine where they can deploy more resources.

He is encouraging community and city leaders and you to take a look at it to see what needs to be done.

"Until we look at it as a community problem, we are going to be very challenged to do anything about it," he said.

Jeans said she hopes no parent experiences the pain she has.

Her son was killed at just 24 years old.

"He didn't deserve this. Don't no one deserve to die like that," she said.