KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville community members are looking for answers and solutions to keeping their neighborhoods safe from gun violence and violent crime. They’re hoping to work together with elected officials and law enforcement.
“It’s hard and it’s frustrating that it does take so long. But it’s because they want to make sure that it closes and doesn’t open again,” said Sherene Jacobs, a community member.
At a Thursday night meeting, community members were able to ask questions and share concerns directly with those in positions to educate and make change.
The meeting was a direct result of a deadly shooting at The Vibe on March 31.
According to witnesses in the car with her, Jesse Roberts, 25, had stopped at Krystal, 2815 N. Broadway, and while sitting at the drive-thru window, was hit by a bullet that came from the direction of The Vibe nearby.
Roberts was taken to UT Medical Center where she died from her injuries. A GoFundMe for the victim’s 7-year-old son was started by the victim’s mother.
Two more victims arrived at UT Medical Center and said they were also shot at The Vibe. Officers are still working to determine if their injuries are related to this incident.
“I was upset that somebody died… I was even more upset that it was somebody in our neighborhood,” said Michelle Ivester, Neighborhood Watch Coordinator for Oakwood/Lincoln Park neighborhoods.
Ivester said she was happy to learn The Vibe was officially closed and hopes speaking up will keep other tragedies from happening again.
“I feel pretty confident in the police that they are watching. We sometimes feel that they really aren’t there, but as they explained earlier, they’ve been there since the get-go but there are steps they have to take,” said Sherene Jacobs.
Knoxville Police officers in attendance reminded community members to call 911 if they believe they’ve heard gunshots.
The officers say the phone calls and reporting help them better track crime.