Neighbor recalls holding body of shooting victim during violent weekend in Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Residents are frustrated after three people were killed during a violent weekend in Memphis.

A neighbor identified one of the victims as Orbelio Perez, 28. Police say he was shot during an attempted robbery on Sharpe Avenue Saturday night.

His neighbor was at her home celebrating her niece's birthday when the shots rang out.

"When we heard a shotgun, my aunt say, 'This is not fake. This is real.' It's terrible," she said.

She went outside and saw her neighbor had been shot in the stomach.

"I held him and I lifted his hand and put his face up. We called 911, and the ambulance come late. The police came before they came," she said.

She said they eventually took Perez to the hospital, where he died Sunday morning.

It was a similar story with two more shooting victims Saturday night.

Police said they responded to deadly incidents at a nearby motel on Lamar Avenue and at an apartment complex in northeast Memphis. They said the number of homicides so far in 2019 is higher than 2018, with 42 compared to 29 in 2018.

One woman said she was not surprised and didn't think it would change.

"That's all I can say. That's life. That's the way it goes," she said.

But Perez's next-door neighbor can't accept that.

"Why do they want to rob? Why don't they want to work? It's a lot of work everywhere. They only want easy money. God, he see everything," she said.

She said Perez immigrated to the U.S. in 2018 and worked in construction. He left behind a wife who still lives in his native Guatemala.

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