Hundreds gather for anti-violence walk after bloody few days in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The months of summer are traditionally some of the most violent and bloody of the year in Memphis as gun violence takes a tick upward, but in just the past few days, a wave of carnage has left nearly ten people hit by gunfire, with several of them dying, according to police.

Saturday, a group of people were trying to get ahead of the summer uptick by delivering a powerful message.

IN PHOTOS: After a deadly 48 hours, Memphians come together to end violence

On a hot, sweaty Saturday morning, hundreds gathered at Hamilton High School in south Memphis in response to the recent shootings.

Since Thursday morning, seven people have been killed and two others have been injured in shootings from north to south Memphis and downtown.

Graduating Hamilton High senior Derek Gladney told those gathered outside the school about his personal heartbreak.

RELATED: 4 people killed in less than 4 hours overnight Thursday in Memphis, police say

The toll of gun violence is a burden he carries at his age.

”I know people who have lost their lives to gun violence. It has affected me and my family,” Gladney said. “My mom just lost a friend to gun violence. I’m out here for that and I’m out here for my cousin.”

Janine Heiner runs “SafeWays,” which seeks to make communities safer through housing.

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She said the trauma caused by gun violence is far-reaching.

”It’s not just the folks that hit by the gunfire and their families that are affected,” Heiner said.

After a prayer, those gathered began walking, their footsteps carving a path through the neighborhood as they held signs.

Some children, holding a bullhorn, declared their right to live free of gun violence.

RELATED: 2 found shot to death in a Frayser apartment, police say

Dr. Jon McCullers, MD, Pediatrician-in-Chief at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, present for the walk, said the gun violence is something he sees too often.

”Often it is children who have the guns and it’s accidental or it’s a drive by shooting or something that nobody’s involved in,” he said.

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