Memphis murder rate highest it’s been in years

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Police Department investigated 168 murders in 2014, according to a news release issued by a department spokesperson.

Out of 168 homicides, police said 24 of the killings are justifiable.

WREG spoke to a mother who lost her teenage son on Easter in 2014 who said, "Why? Why? Why they had to kill him?"

According to police, 14 children under the age of 18-years-old were murdered last year.

In November 2014, a father described the pain of losing his son to possible gang violence.

"It hurts so bad. It hurts so bad, and I don't - don't know what to do," Reginald Johnson said.

The tears and hurt became a familiar sight in 2014.

WREG's cameras captured several emotional moments throughout the year as families coped with losing a loved one.

Police revealed a majority of murder victims knew their killers, and 35% of the murders started from an argument or fight.

There were also murders, like Alejandra Leos', which police considered domestic-related.

There were 15 domestic violence-related killings in 2014.

Police said domestic violence-related murders are down 17% when compared to 2013.

Police also claimed to see a low number of gang-related murders in 2014.

"The value of life has been diminished so greatly," Pastor Deandre Brown, Founder of Lifeline 2 Success, said.

Pastor Brown said it is good to see improvements in some areas, but the war against putting an end to murders is far from over.

"There's a lot of work to do," Pastor Brown said. "Until men and women really value one another -- Our morals have gone away, our value systems have been diminished. We have to be intentional about rebuilding values in our neighborhoods."

Police say the majority of the people considered suspects for these murders are between the ages of 18-24-years-old.

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