MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Central Station revitalization project, a symbol of progress for downtown Memphis, also marks the spot casting a shadow over the entire city.
“It’s sad," said Derik Forrest, whose construction firm has participated in the project.
“The city is in mourning right now,” Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said.
Officials said Memphis Chamber of Commerce CEO Phil Trenary was walking home from an event Thursday night when he was gunned down.
Many, including Harris, struggle to reconcile such a violent ending to a man who gave so much.
“He decided to be one of the chief cheerleaders for our community," Harris said. "There's no doubt about it. It's hard news."
The news also spread beyond Memphis.
Gov. Bill Haslam tweeted: “Our hearts are broken with the news of the loss of Phil Trenary. Phil has been a wonderful friend to Crissy and me and a great advocate for Memphis. Our hearts go out to his family and his associates and the Memphis community."
And Sen. Bob Corker took time from Washington to tweet about the loss: "Phil Trenary was a true champion for Memphis. I am thankful for his contributions and for the example he has shown to so many through his public service. I am saddened to learn of his untimely death."
WREG reached Rep. Steve Cohen (D- Memphis), also in Washington.
"It doesn’t make Memphis look good. The murder of anybody in Memphis doesn’t make Memphis look good," Cohen said.
We asked leaders and people who live in Memphis how do we move on from this, when your city’s biggest cheerleader is forever silenced?
“I am still trying to process the news. I don’t know what it means for our community,” Harris said.
"Memphis is a good city. I wouldn’t take this one thing and put that on Memphis," Forrest said.
He just hoped the construction and revitalization continued, even without Trenary to cheer them on.