Mayor Berke's VRI Begins Amid Doubters
As Chattanooga begins Mayor Berke's Violence Reduction Initiative, East Lake's Sherrika Stallion says the mayor can begin on Alton Park's Fagan Street, where her son's father was shot to death February 1st. "My son misses his daddy very much, and I miss him, and like I said, I won't be happy until justice is served," affirms the new widow.
Clutching the deceased's six year old son who bears his father's name, Ms. Stallion says she's disappointed with the way Chattanooga Police detectives are handling the murder investigation of 23 year old Charles Allen Jones. "They say it was like 7 or 8 suspects that they've been looking at, but haven't made any arrests, haven't really came to the family or talk to us like they really should," says Stallion, who admits she is less than optimistic of Mayor Berke's plan to cut the city's growing crime problem, "It really seems like they don't care, they just want black on black crime, that's how I look at it," says Stallion.
"His heart may very well be in the right place, but it's hard to tell when no one sees you," says LaToya Holloman, a community activist. "My question to the mayor is what's going to make this situation different? From the last time this was tried?"
Holloman says she has reached out to Berke, but has yet to get a reply. "You still have people walking around here broken hearted, you still have murderers walking around here, there's so much going on but it's a lot going on without any closure," says Hollomon.
If there is one thing both LaToya and Sherikka can agree upon, it's the need for a bigger police presence on the streets that need it most. "It would keep a lot of more violence down probably
once they see the police bunkered down, put the city on lockdown for all I care cause that will stop a lot of gang members doing what they doing out here.
Police say they are still looking for suspects in the Jones murder and are appealing to the public for any assistance in identifying those responsible. As for the Violence Reduction Initiative, Mayor Berke's office says they will reveal details of Thursday night's meeting Friday.