With 3 months left in 2020, Memphis sets homicide record

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The city of Memphis, Tennessee, has already broken its record for killings in a calendar year with 230, even though there are still about three months left in 2020, police said Tuesday.

The deaths of a woman who was shot at a fast-food restaurant drive-thru over the weekend and a 12-year-old boy who was shot in a Memphis neighborhood on Monday moved Tennessee’s second-largest city above the previous record of 228 homicides in a year, set in 2016, Memphis police spokesman Louis Brownlee said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

Brownlee said 27 juveniles have been victims of a homicide so far this year. Police officials have said that they fear Memphis could reach 300 total homicides this year. Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected several aspects of public health, such as domestic violence, suicides and drug overdoses.

Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings and Deputy Chief Samuel Hines have said the combination of economic and social stressors have contributed to the high number of homicides, The Commercial Appeal reported.

Rallings also has pointed to gun thefts, including weapons stolen from cars and trucks, as a problem.

“The bodies are stacking up,” Rallings told the newspaper. “We have three more months to go in the year, we could break 300 homicides … all of Memphis should be in an uproar over this.”

Louisville, Kentucky, also recently broke its annual homicide record earlier this month, according to a review of police data by The Courier-Journal.

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