Anti-violence rally held, gang member speaks about gang culture - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Anti-violence rally held, gang member speaks about gang culture

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Several groups in Savannah joined together Wednesday night in a rally against the latest shooting in the city.

What was different about this rally is one of the young men in attendance said he was born and raised in a gang, the same people police are blaming for a lot of this violence.   

His father was in one, his brother was in one, and he said there's just no escaping. And according to him, these gangs and their violent ways are not going anywhere.

"I mean gangs are gangs, you know what I'm saying. I feel like this: with gangs, gangs is the cover up to the problem. That's what everyone thinks it is, but it's not,” said one gang member, who wishes to remain anonymous.

The young man said that gangs and the violence they create is aimed only at other gang members, not the general public.

His interpretation of the impact the violence is having on the rest of us is a bit skewed, according to those who attended this multi-group rally against the violence. 

One woman’s nephew was murdered in Savannah, and she's witnessed gun fights in her neighborhood.

"Now, that we don't have the police patrolling this area like they used to, they are just taking advantage of it. Coming out, standing out, and feel like they can pull out pistols and start shooting. And there's kids out here. I don't let my kids come outside, I don't, and I really don't. I'm scared, I don't know what's going to happen,” said Valerie Hendry, neighbor.

Another neighbor said not only do they need more police presence, but they need officers who more actively patrol these communities.

J.L. Hunt, neighbor, said, "They don't need to sit in their car, they need to get out and walk. If you sit in your car, you can't see nothing."

This community effort against violence is exactly what Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Jack Lumpkin has been encouraging. His promise to the folks at this rally, "Your walking patrols are coming".

Perhaps too late, according to the gang member.  He said gang violence is part of the culture in Savannah. But on behalf of his own daughter, he hopes this kind of community involvement can help to change that culture.

"I say if y'all care about these neighborhoods, y'all need to march through here every day, man, not after somebody gets killed,” said the gang member.

Usually, the group "Solidarity in Savannah" holds a rally like this after each shooting, but Wednesday night they had several other groups join, including "Savannah Lives Matter" and local pastors.

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