Jackson residents gather for prayer rally calling for an end to city’s crime problems

Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 11:10 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - On Sunday, a group of concerned Jackson residents marched in solidarity praying for peace, and calling for an end to the senseless crime in the city.

They marched to the Jasco gas station on West Woodrow Wilson Avenue where two people were killed during a shootout just last month.

See for these residents, the violence hits close to home.

“I’ve seen multiple people out of my graduating class die,” said John Hendricks, who graduated from Murrah High School in 2018. “Anybody in that class know that a couple of people have already left here, so when I see that it’s really heartbreaking to me.”

“My grandfather was in a situation where he was two cars behind a shootout,” said Shunta Lewis, who’s a lifelong Jackson resident. “It just effected us wholeheartedly because it could have been my grandfather that could’ve got shot that day.”

So far in 2021, the Capital City has seen 26 homicides, including two this weekend.

Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart rallied with residents on Sunday trying to find solutions to ending the violence.

“We need to start teaching conflict resolution, we need to start teaching anger management,” said Stewart. “So much of the violence I see is over senseless things that should never result to picking up a weapon.”

Also on hand was Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

On Monday, Jackson Police Chief James Davis is expected will present a plan detailing how JPD will combat the high crime rate.

The mayor said he’s confident in the plan.

“Well I’ve had an opportunity to see it, it’s very thoughtful,” the mayor said. “I won’t forecast too much, just let him present it. It’s a strategy, a strategy of how we move forward.”

Meanwhile, residents hope it includes ways to take guns off the streets, and more activities for the youth.

“I would really like for them to be creative and really be thoughtful on how do you get everyday people involved in this plan,” said Deanna Reed, who helped organize the prayer rally. “It’s one thing to have a plan, but it’s going to take the people to be able to run with that, and people have to feel invested, they have to be a part of it. I think that plan should definitely build with the people of Jackson.”

Lumumba said tackling the city’s crime issues doesn’t fall solely on the police, he wants to see residents also step up and get involved.

“Crime is not simply something we can out police, so we need the community’s involvement, we need the community’s engagement,” said Lumumba. “It can’t just be on our police department, it has to be on all of us. "

Chief Davis is expected to present his plan at the next law enforcement ad hoc committee meeting.

It’s scheduled for Monday evening at one o’clock.

Reed said the next prayer march is currently being planned for April 11th.

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