Analysis: Nearly half of those killed in Jackson thus far this year were under 30

Crudup stresses importance of reaching young people through united effort with other faith leaders
Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As homicides ramp up, threatening to outpace the Capital City’s deadliest year, a 3 On Your Side analysis finds 45 percent of those killed were under the age of 30.

The first week of June brought five homicides, including a 23-year-old woman who graduated from college weeks earlier.

Police dispatch recordings show units were first called to a home on Barbara Ann Drive at 1:17 a.m. Saturday, minutes after officers would later say at least two people opened fire with an assault rifle and .40-caliber weapon.

Bullets from the apparent drive-by shooting hit the home multiple times, striking 23-year-old Jertia Evans.

Evans, who had just graduated from Mississippi State University, died before paramedics could bring her back.

The last thing she wrote on Facebook was a prayer for the family of 18-year-old Kennedy Hobbs, killed hours after her high school graduation.

Hobbs’ death brought outrage and national attention to the problem of deadly violence that has plagued Jackson in recent years.

It also makes church leaders like Bishop Ronnie Crudup Sr. of New Horizon Church International even more determined to put an end to it.

“We’re not surrendering Jackson over to criminals. I know that a lot of people, particularly outside of the city, who think that is the case,” Crudup said. “It is all hands on deck because this circumstance threatens us all. And nobody wants to see when we’ve got children who graduate a few hours early and then get murdered.”

Crudup said he understands the frustration and anger from many in the Capital City and the need to rally together.

Soon, churches all over Jackson will be coming together and partnering with law enforcement and local elected officials, he said.

The finished product remains unclear as Crudup did not offer specifics about who would join and what the events would be.

He did, however, say that being able to reach out to young people in school and young adults would be key to making this work.

“Everybody thinks that we’re going to have a quick fix; we’re not going to have a quick fix. But I really do believe that we can change the thinking. That’s a paradigm shift,” Crudup said. “I don’t think we have enough positive messaging that’s going on, particularly to our school children, right? With school coming up again, and with children back in school, that that presents an opportunity to do a little bit more direct positive messaging to our young people about the circumstances that are going on with them.”

Still, there are concerns about whether some Jacksonians will participate at all. For example, JPD held a de-escalation training meeting last week and no one showed up.

Crudup said residents will likely see more specifics on this partnership later this week.

“All that we’re experiencing is a few negative people that are terrorizing this entire community,” Crudup said. “It takes the rest of us to come together and make a decision, that that’s not going to happen here.”

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