MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Startling video showing a shoot-out near a popular Memphis mall is causing a lot of conversations about safety and youth violence in our city.
Police identified some of the suspects arrested in the fight and shooting at Wolfchase Galleria as known gang members.
One video of the incident that took place Tuesday evening shows a man outside Wolfchase Galleria drop a gun, then get shot while reaching for it.
“I was terrified because that’s where my daughter hangs out on the weekend with her friends,” said Delvin Lane, a former gang member who’s now a supervisor with 901 Bloc Squad.
Lane says he also couldn’t believe the range in ages of those involved in the fighting and shooting at the mall.
“Usually the kids who hang out at Wolfchase are minors and so to hear you got 23 [and] 24 year olds hanging out there with them was shocking to me, and was also a little bit scary because I don’t want my daughter hanging out with grown men,” said Lane.
Police identified the man shown in the video as Marquice Lester, 23, and said he’s a known member of the gang ‘FAM Mob.’
“Like a lot of the recent or newer gangs in Memphis, it was founded and started by some very young people,” said Paul Hagerman, chief prosecutor over the gang unit.
Hagerman says FAM Mob started around 2000 and is one they keep a close eye on at the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.
“Through the years, it’s been responsible for more and more violence in our community and like a lot of these young gangs in Memphis, violence for less and less of a reason,” said Hagerman.
In 2014, prosecutors filed a gang injunction on two apartments FAM Mob would fill with crime and violence.
And recently they’ve put leaders of the gang behind bars, like James McCracken.
McCracken was said to have called membership meetings and enforced violations in the gang. He was caught robbing a drug dealer, which became a federal crime he’s now serving time for.
“The senselessness and the prevalence of all the gun play by a gang like FAM Mob and others like FAM Mob, it’s a disturbing trend,” said Hagerman.
He hopes McCracken’s sentence of 10 years in federal prison along with those of other former gang members will send a message.
“There is absolutely no good future in this.”
In Hagerman’s experience, he’s seen the future of gang members go one of two ways: Get locked up or get killed.
Officials say many gang leaders will try and recruit kids in schools or on their way home from school.
Both Lane and Hagerman say this is why it’s crucial to be involved in your kids’ lives and who they hang out with, along with making sure they’re involved in productive activities.
“We have to reprogram our kids to let them know it’s all about bettering yourself as a citizen and not claiming where you’re from and being willing to kill somebody over it,” said Lane.