NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville community leaders have joined forces, after saying juvenile crime is getting out of hand. This month, eight teens have been arrested by Metro Police, with charges ranging from carjacking to homicide.
“Whether it’s by gun or if it’s by casket, either way, you’re going to leave this earth,” said Kameryyn Woodland.
Teens like Woodland had an open and honest conversation about juvenile crime, sharing what daily life is like when guns and violence are on every corner. Organizers called the event called a “State of Emergency.”
“There are kids that come to schools and just shoot for no reason, just because they’re getting bullied. Like I said, you have to get in where you fit in,” explained Woodland.
In front of about a dozen people, Woodland said oftentimes teens feel pressured to fit in and make a name for themselves and believe violence is one way to accomplish that goal.
“When you start getting murder charges at 12 years old, 10 years old, 14 years old, then it’s time for all of us to get concerned,” said Clemmie Greenlee.
It is a personal mission for Greenlee, and an issue she has been trying to tackle since 2003 when her son was killed.
“If I’m still talking about this from 2003, 2014, 2015, and here in 2021, and I’m still here doing interviews about the youth violence. I feel like that state of emergency is for everybody,” explained Greenlee.
The movement was sparked by the recent crimes committed by Nashville’s youth. On Thursday, Rodale Lewis was charged with shooting and killing his 15-year-old brother Latherious. The charge comes just days after their sister, 17-year-old Diamond Lewis, plead guilty to the murder of a Nashville musician.
“Kids don’t deserve to die, and no one deserves to get killed It’s something different about a teenager that’s never been to prom, never got a feel for high school, never even seen adulthood, never seen college, just going into a casket,” said Coach Bandz.
According to Metro Police Stats, violent crime committed by youth is up, compared to this time last year. Coach Bandz and Greenlee say instead of trying to meet and create ways to slow down the violence, it’s important to meet teens where they are. They explained, oftentimes juveniles will be more likely to talk and explain why they are committing such violent crimes, if they have a safe place to express their feelings.