WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. - West Memphis city council members heard from the students impacted by the loss of their classmate and friend who was killed last week while playing video games.
Mayor Marco McClendon invited them to speak about the issues.
Those students told city leaders they are scared to walk down the street. One student said she slept on the floor because she was afraid of getting shot.
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Four close friends of Taylon Vail, 16, offered city councilmembers solutions to fighting violent crime in the area.
“Why did it have to be him? Or am I next because I’m so scared that somebody, anybody will just shoot up my house,” said Maeison Perry, a West Memphis student.
Perry is one of the students who went before the city council, hoping the death of her friend brings about change in her community that is plagued by violence.
“I have been waken up out of my sleep having small panic attacks,” Perry said.
Vail was killed in the 2000 block of East Harrison Avenue last week while playing video games at his grandmother’s house. The teen was a 9th grader at West Junior High.
Students from the school even made a T-shirt in his honor.
Another student – Richard Massey – asked the council to increase police presence in high-crime areas and to invest more money into the city’s after-school programs.
McClendon recently enforced a curfew requiring teens under 18-years-old without an adult to be home by 11 p.m. during the week unless they are working.
City councilmember Helen Harris said the police can’t do it all.
“We also need the ministers and preachers to get out the churches and come to the school, walk the streets. We need some praying, it’s going to take prayer to do this,” Harris said.
Vail was a basketball player with dreams of going to the NBA.
McClendon said he will continue to work with those students impacted and look at possible solutions.
Police are still searching for Vail’s killer.
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