Families affected by violence come together to honor loved ones

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The grim statistic continues to grow. There have now been 207 homicides in the city of Memphis

The most recent was Monday morning.

19-year-old Monterrio Coneay is charged with reckless homicide for the murder of an 18-year-old.

This homicide comes as leaders gather Monday night at Second Presbyterian Church in East Memphis to remember the people lost to violence.

Victims to Victory gives families emotional support, while local leaders are speaking out saying, enough is enough.

“He still had a whole life to live. A long successful life. I know he was going to be successful,” said Valencia Martin.

Martin knew the 18-year-old young man killed Monday off Dumbeath in Raleigh. She wasn’t alone.

”A lot of people knew him,” she said.

That was clear as a large group huddled together in the cold, trying to make sense of the violence. Memphis Police have released few details about the case but Martin is tired of seeing too many lives taken far too soon.

“Basically it just needs to stop. People constantly die like every day and it’s a lot of people,” she said.

Local lawmakers are fed up too.

“It’s totally unacceptable and in my opinion I want to do more than just get mad,” said Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar.

Basar has been outspoken about the city and county’s homicide problems. According to his research, the majority of victims and suspects involved in homicides are young African- American men.

“If we can address this particular problem. If we can make a dent, we can start making progress,” he said.

Basar is calling on Memphis to adopt a similar strategy to New Orleans called NOLA for Life.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has discussed his interest in it before.

The data driven program focuses on homicides by addressing five pillars: stopping shootings, investing in prevention, promoting jobs and opportunity, getting involved and rebuilding neighborhoods and strengthening the New Orleans Police Department.

Those who created the NOLA for Life Program say it’s important for a city to analyze itself in order for the program to be successful.

Basar said he has meetings set up with Mayor Strickland, District Attorney Amy Weirich and the Crime Commission to see how they can start making changes.

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