Crime is Memphis’ toughest challenge, mayor says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FOX13 asks Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland tough questions after a 15-year-old was murdered near Beale Street.

It happened this weekend as tourists packed Memphis.

READ MORE: 15-year-old shot and killed near Beale Street identified by football coach

With the hope of the pandemic in our rear-view mirror and as Memphis tourist attractions work to rebuild, could a spike in crime hamper those efforts?

FOX13′s Daniel Wilkerson talked with Mayor Strickland Monday evening to find out how he is reacting to this latest murder in the heart of downtown.

Mayor Strickland admits crime is Memphis’ toughest challenge.

He insists he and the police chief are working on it.

But as he has said in the past, he still believes this is more than a government challenge to tackle.

He says it will take everyone working together to get crime under control.

RELATED: Man shot and killed in Downtown Memphis, police say

“It’s just heartbreaking,” Strickland said. “Unfortunately, it’s just another in a long line of youth murdered, and there’s no excuse for that.”

15-year-old Roderiguez Miner, Junior, affectionately known as Lil Rocky, died.

That identification comes from his football coach.

A 16-year-old girl also was shot and treated at a hospital.

The shootings happened on a weekend with great weather when Memphis enjoyed thousands of tourists.

The crime happened at Beale and Riverside Drive.

READ MORE: Double shooting near Beale Street leaves teen dead, police say

FOX13 asked the mayor if he thinks there is something the city can do to stop this spike.

“Well, we are doing something,” he said. “Police Chief Davis is putting more officers out of the street. They’re being more dangerous toward the dangerous crowd. She’s put together a task force to go after those with warrants for violent crimes.”

The mayor says one thing didn’t help matters.

“When the state legislature passed the law in 2014 to allow guns in cars, gun crimes skyrocketed,” the mayor said.

FOX13 pointed out to the mayor that even the police chief had her gun stolen out of her car.

“It shows you anyone can make a mistake,” Strickland said. “You need to secure your guns in a car.”

Mayor Strickland says it will take everyone working together to curb gun violence.

“I guess I want parents to hug their children. We need churches and other venues to give young people things to attend, so they don’t have to go to downtown parks at ten or eleven at night. 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds need to be in a safe environment, and we have to provide more of those.”