MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With gun violence continuing to plague the city of Memphis, community members gathered with local law enforcement for a discussion on the issue.
One by one kids take turns hugging an inflatable Memphis Police Department mascot. What may seem like a time of celebration at the Greenbriar Apartments has a deeper purpose.
“There is a lot of violence and shooting. That’s the areas we target,” said Brian Tillman with 901 Bloc Squad.
Mostly in all orange, the 901 Bloc Squad teamed up to “block” gun violence in the complex, with MPD and Alco Management joining in.
“We are growing with the community every day by having events like this,” MPD public information officer Joseph Hibler said.
MPD says these events are needed, especially at the Greenbriar Apartments. Thursday, patrol cars lined the complex as officers connected with residents.
But in March patrol cars and crime tape lined the buildings. WREG was also there as police investigated the shooting and killing of a teenage boy and woman. Last summer, two others were victims of gun violence.
“It may seem like it’s not happening fast, but yes we are seeing a difference,” Hibler said.
It’s making a difference for families like Niesha Clay and her son who’ve called the apartments home for three years.
“If they can stop it I’ll stay over here, but my plan is to move from over here because of him,” Clay said.
Cookies, chips, and pizza sparked a conversation that all ages are paying attention to.
“It’s going to take collaboration,” Tillman said. “There is no one cure-all to the problem. We are just part of the solution.”