Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why I will stay away from Jeff Street during TSU homecoming events until it's safe to attend

Before this weekend I did not take seriously claims that there has been a violent side to Tennessee State University homecoming events. After around a half-dozen reports of shootings in the last 24 hours, I guess I'm going to have to listen to the ominous warnings next year.

The gun violence started at the end of the TSU homecoming parade:

Officials said that a bullet shot from an unknown location passed through Eric Gray's arm and hit Lorenzo Vaughn in the back. Both men were transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Gray was treated and released.

Police do not believe that Gray and Vaughn were targeted in this shooting. The reason for the gunfire has not been determined, nor has a suspect been found.

"We had 2 victims who couldn't identify who had shot them. They were running from the scene. They have no idea what occurred," said Lt. Eric Snyder with Metro Police. [Source]

There was also gun violence at 6 p.m. at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Hope Gardens, a Downtown neighborhood near the intersection of Jefferson Street and Rosa Parks Boulevard:

Investigators confirmed that the victims were in the drive-thru of the restaurant, waiting on food when the gunman came up to them and began shooting.

The two injured victims then drove themselves to Baptist Hospital.

Officials said both victims arrived at the hospital with serious injuries; one victim was shot in the face, the other shot in the chest.

The Kentucky Fried Chicken closed for the rest of the evening due to the incident.

Police were still investigating the incident, no suspect or motive had been determined.

The shootings continued into early this morning and affected Salemtown:

Metro Police are looking for a gunman who opened fire on several cars on Sunday morning.

Officers said a man and his friend flashed gang signs out of their windows while they drove down Jefferson Street.

The men were in a black Ford Mustang.

The pair stopped the car near 14th Avenue and got out.

One of the men fired shots at passing cars.

During the process, the gunman shot his friend in the leg.

The injured friend ran away to Fisk University, and was later rushed to the hospital.

The bullets fired from the gunman also shattered a glass window from a passing car.

The driver left the area and called for help near 6th Avenue and Buchanan Street.

This is a problem for our neighborhoods around Jeff St. that seems to be getting worse rather than better. I don't know what the organizers of TSU homecoming can do to discourage increasing gun play on these big weekends. Maybe have pre-programs and involvement opportunities for area high school students. Maybe hire more security. Maybe scale back the parties.

However, something needs to be done. Next year I plan to stay away from Jefferson Street and way away from the TSU campus during homecoming for the sake of my own safety. The crime associated with the celebration, unfairly or not, is not good for community spirit.

UPDATE: NewsChannel5 reports that two of the gunshot victims from last night are refusing to assist police in identifying their attackers:

Police have said they believe the two men who were shot at [KFC in Hope Gardens] ... were specifically targeted ....

Investigators say Terrence Parrish, 22, and Michael Jones, 24, were injured when two men got out of a Chevrolet Trailblazer and shot them ....

Investigators confirmed that the victims were in the drive-through of the restaurant, waiting on food when the gunman came up to them and began shooting.

Officials said both victims arrived at the hospital with serious injuries; one victim was shot in the face; the other shot in the chest. Sunday, they were both in stable condition at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Police say Parrish and Jones both have arrest and convictions histories dating back 2006, and investigators say neither victim was interested in helping police find the people who shot them.

1 comment:

  1. Whats wrong Mr. Social Liberal afraid to go out into the real world? Peace, love, and happiness until the bullets start flying. Don't be such a girly man you live in the City! Sorry, there is not a fence around Salem town to keep all the rift raft out.