Community leaders stand against gang violence - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE 2: Community leaders stand against gang violence

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By Amy Morrow
Eyewitness News Anchor/ Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- With more than a dozen shootings on record this year in Chattanooga and six homicides,  a group of community leaders is calling for action.

Some say we've hit crisis mode and it's time to take action, before any more blood is shed.

African American leaders met on the steps of City Hall Friday.

"What motivated me was a radio station across town says where's the black community...wer'e here... We're right here...cheers," says Retired Police Officer Napoleon Williams.

Community leaders say they're on alert, calling on the city to make a move to curb violence over the next 90 days.

The group of pastor,politicians and youth leaders was led by a retired police officer.

"Get parents to talk to their kids, it ain't the way to go...ain't nobody making money right now but the funeral homes," says Williams.

Williams says it's time to convince the young people in Chattanooga to put down the guns.

They're throwing out ideas like after school programs, activities at recreation centers and a curfew.

"I think it's a good idea or a plan, I don't know if it'll stop all the violence.. But its worth the effort," says Rhiannon Rhoda.

"Should be some kind of curfew...if you're sixteen you shouldn't be out till 2 am," says Joseph Kitsis, who works in Chattanooga.

"It hits north shore and everyone is like oh my gosh, what's gong on it's a city thing, we've gotta deal with it..every once in a while I guess," says Jeff Rhoda.

And these leaders say it's something we must face head on,  as a community.

" I'd like to see a 90 day curfew, put down the guns and stop killin'," says Williams.

"I don't really know what it'll take to change it would be nice if young people involved in more positive activities in their lives," says Donna Thomas.

"The secret is parents, know where there kids are, keep in contact... They all have cell phones," says Kitsis.

The group also says they're hoping to work with the city to develop an apprenticeship program or a jobs skills program to help the young people develop skills for jobs, to hopefully turn them away from violence and drug dealing.


Story by Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) --  A group of African American leaders says enough is enough.  They want shootings in Chattanooga to end.  There have been 6 homicides in the city this year, in more than a dozen shootings. 

The situation escalated in Coolidge Park March 20th, when hundreds of teens had gathered on Saturday.  By the end of the evening, shots were fired into the crowd.

No one was hit, but it came just one year after a flash mob at the park where five people were grazed by bullets.

The group consisted of pastors, politicians a retired police officer who say they'll be watching what the city does over the next 90 days to curb gang violence.

It was a brief meeting on the steps of Chattanooga City Hall.  The group says they support Chattanooga Police Chief Dodd but are concerned about what they called, "Mayor Littlefield's lack of attention to gang violence". 

County Commissioners Warren Mackey and Greg Beck were present.

"Effective immediately any of those activities that happen on our property in your house, or your relatives house if it's associated, we're moving to evict you," says CHA Board of Commissioners Director, Eddie Holmes. 

"Somebody can reach out to these kids to let them know this isn't the way," says retired police officer, Napoleon Williams.  "I'm recommending to Mayor Littlefield and Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd that we might need to do a curfew". 

The group says if they don't see change in 90 days they plan to push city officials to impose a stricter curfew.  After the meeting Williams says he didn't have all the details of the stricter curfew worked out yet.  Williams says he's been in touch with Mayor Littlefield and Police Chief Dodd about the groups ideas.

Williams also talked about working with the city to developed an apprenticeship or job skills program to help young people come out of lifestyles of violence. 


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