Residents voice safety concerns after tragedies

Published 10:33 am Thursday, July 9, 2015

In the wake of back-to-back murders, city officials and residents agree that the Brookhaven community needs to come together and collectively address rising crime rates.

The first murder, that of Kelcay Humphrey, took place Sunday on Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Drive located in Ward 2. Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates said when he found out the incident happened he was saddened.

“We talked about it last night to find ways to do something about it,” Bates said, referring to the city’s board of aldermen.

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He said this is not an east side, west side or south side thing.

“It’s a Brookhaven thing,” he said. “We’ve got to come together as a whole.”

Maxine Allen said she cried over the most recent murder, that of Bridget Hall, because her family knew Hall’s. Hall was killed in her home on Vivian Merritt Street Monday night.

“The community has to come together,” Allen said. “We have to stop this.”

Allen has lived in Brookhaven her whole life and said the city was safer when she was growing up than it is now.

“We’ve got too much drugs or drinking or whatever,’ Allen said.

Tyrone Powell has lived in Brookhaven since 1975 and said the murders don’t make sense. In reference to the age of the people involved, Powell said when he was that age there was less going on.

“It all goes back to the home for me,” Powell said.

He said that sometimes children are taking care of themselves and the next thing they’re adults and don’t know how to handle things. He said most people in his generation would say when they did something wrong they got disciplined, but that has changed.

Bates said he thinks the problem has to do with the removal of religion from public life.

“When I was in school we had prayer before we started class,” Bates said. “I believe if we bring religion back into whatever we do, it’s going to be better.”

He said people can talk about these incidents and seek to find solutions, but until God is put back into the schools “you’re going to continue to have these problems.”

“Our city has to come together and come up with some solutions for our young people,” Bates said. “The first thing is to get [religion] back into school.

Community invited to prayer event

A community prayer event will take place at Alexander Junior High School at 6 p.m. Thursday.

“This is so much deeper than what’s being said,” Rev. Phillip Sterling, organizer of the event, said. “I’m a former law enforcement officer with ties to the community. This is not just the black community.”

Sterling said his decision to organize the event was made because of the innocence of Hall, the woman shot to death in her home Monday night.

“She was innocent in this,” he said. “Everyone thinks they’re safe in their home, but she thought she was safe.”