East Knoxville church works to curb gun violence

East Knoxville church works to curb gun violence

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"It's down from a person's perspective. That's just looking at a piece of paper. But it's not down when you're burying your child," said Pastor Daryl Arnold of the Ove "It's down from a person's perspective. That's just looking at a piece of paper. But it's not down when you're burying your child," said Pastor Daryl Arnold of the Ove

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A rash of shootings near an East Knoxville church has the pastor taking action to curb gun violence in the neighborhood.

According to Knoxville Police, shooting crimes are down compared to this time last year, but Pastor Daryl Arnold says that is not the reality.

"It's down from a person's perspective. That's just looking at a piece of paper. But it's not down when you're burying your child. It's not down when you get a call at 3 a.m. that your husband's been shot in the chest," said Pastor Daryl Arnold of the Overcoming Believers Church.

The church sits within a several block radius where multiple shootings have occurred over the last few months, including a drive-by that killed a 17-year-old boy.

According to KPD, shooting crimes are down. At this time last year there were 21 shootings; this year, there have been 19. Both years saw three fatal shooting.

"I think we need to have a sense of awareness that this is taking place and even one death is too many," Arnold said.

One of those three victims was Hakeem Jackson, a 17-year-old killed in a drive by shooting last month just a block from the church.

In light of these shootings, Pastor Arnold is joining forces with KPD and former Knoxville Mayor Dan Brown. 

"None of us have the answers as individuals, but when coming together, hopefully we'll be able to come up with some solutions," explained Councilman Dan Brown.

They plan to hold a town hall meeting with community leaders, but also the young people who live with this violence on daily basis.

"We're doing our best to pull people together to get the ear of the street, young people in the street to find out what is it that is causing so much anger and rage," Arnold explained.

They know a forum won't stop the violence, but feel at least it's a start.

"There have been other groups who had forums and discussions, but we want to so to speak get the ball rolling again. But it's going to take more than a discussion and more than a forum," Brown said.

They hope to hold the forum sometime in May or June. Another option being discussed is a possible gun buy back. But it is just an idea on the table at this time. Their main goal is getting a conversation going.

"It's not enough, but it's a start," Arnold admits. "And if we don't start somewhere, then we're going to keep burying kids."

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