#BlueLivesMatter: Police Officer Killed in Hit-and-Run By Murder Suspect in Downtown Memphis. It Doesn’t “Take a Village”. It Takes a Father.

CkKoGGCVAAExTRLAmid the renewed drive to revitalize Downtown Memphis, the unfathomable number of homicides continues to throw up roadblocks.

The Commercial Appeal reports that

An 18-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department died Saturday night after being struck downtown by the vehicle of a fleeing shooting suspect.

Verdell Smith, 46, died at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, making him the latest casualty in a brutal year that’s seen 95 homicides so far — possibly more if the death of a woman whose body was found in Frayser earlier Saturday evening is ruled a homicide or if any of three other victims in the crime that claimed Smith die.

“This highlights the dangers officers face every day,” MPD Director Michael Rallings said during a press conference outside Regional Medical Center shortly before 2 a.m. 

In a strongly-worded statement released at 2:30 a.m., Mayor Jim Strickland called on Memphians to remember Smith’s family in prayer on Sunday.

“My family joins all of Memphis in mourning the loss of Officer Verdell Smith, who gave his life in service to our city.  I call on every Memphian to remember Officer Smith’s family in prayer and reflection today and in the coming days — and to be grateful for the dangerous, important work our men and women of MPD perform every day.

“I am angry this morning — angry at the senseless loss of a dedicated public servant, and angry at the absolutely unacceptable level of violence in our city,” Strickland added. “We must not accept this as our norm. I most certainly will not, and I will continue to act to make our city safer.”

Rallings said no charges have been filed yet against the suspect who felled Smith, who left a father, fiance and children.

Memphis police spokesman Louis Brownlee sent this tweet shortly before Rallings spoke:

Smith was struck after the unidentified suspect, who was taken into custody and transported to the Regional Medical Center in noncritical condition, shot three people during a spree that began in the Pinch District at Westy’s Restaurant and Bar and spilled over to Bass Pro Shops before ending near Beale and Third streets.

Rallings said police at Main and Exchange heard shots at 9:55 p.m. and found two male victims at Westy’s. They were transported to Regional Medical Center and remained in critical condition.

At 10:02 p.m., Rallings said police got a call to the nearby Bass Pro, where a male employee had been shot. He was taken to Regional Medical Center in noncritical condition.

The suspect fled in a silver vehicle and was spotted on Riverside Drive before officers lost sight near the interstate.

Rallings said police weren’t sure what route the suspect took next, but he ended up at Beale and Third as officers were working to clear the area. That’s where Smith was struck.

The suspect was taken into custody after a foot chase.

Martin Norris and Jake Schorr IV, employees of Westy’s, said a man walked up from the south on Main Street, talking loudly to himself, pulled a handgun and shot two customers who were sitting at a picnic table in front of the restaurant.

Norris and Schorr chased the man down the block, but he crossed Front Street and jumped a fence, heading toward the parking lot of Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid.

There, truck driver Luis Cortez of Laredo, Texas, was exiting Bass Pro with his family when he heard gunshots in the parking lot. Cortez said the victim appeared to be a store employee who had been collecting shopping carts.

Cortez said he saw a car near the victim, but couldn’t see inside it because of dark-tinted windows. The car sped away and the victim ran to the store entrance, Cortez said.

Memphis resident Tina Jamison said she was on Beale when the crash occurred, and she approached officers on the street.

“We heard on the scanner, ‘officer down,’ Jamison said.

She said when she heard commotion, she initially thought there had been a fight on Beale.

“They told us to go inside one of the restaurants,” she said.

This murder is just one example of a horrifying trend which has been happening for a while now, in my City of Birth.

As a 57-year old resident of the Memphis Area, I have borne witness to the governmental mismanagement and resulting decay and degeneration of what was once of the friendliest places in the country to live.

There are still friendly people in Memphis, but, chances are, they work in Memphis and are living in the suburbs, like I do.

The mass exodus of Memphis taxpayers started during the reign of  “King” Willie Herenton, whom while Mayor from 1991 – 2008, told taxpayers of the Caucasian persuasion, if they did not like the way he was running the city, they could leave.

So, they did.

Since then, violent crime in Memphis has steadily risen, to the point where some suburban husbands will not allow their families to enter Memphis during the day or night.

The most recent Mayor, Jim Strickland, seems to be working hard to revitalize Downtown Memphis.

The big news this past weekend, was that Service master will relocate their Headquarters from East Memphis  to Downtown, as Peabody Pleace, adjacent to the Historic Peabody Hotel.

That’s the good news.

The bad news , before the tragic murder of Office Smith, was crime on Memphis’ most famous street, was hurting business…

Beale Street leaders can’t agree on a method to control overcrowding and violence among visitors.Paul Morris, former manager of Beale for the Downtown Memphis Commission, tells local media that two back-to-back incidents occurred Sunday, the latest in a string of at least 18 stampedes since 2013.

The Beale Street Merchants Association and other organizations are considering Beale Street Bucks as a way to tighten admission. Visitors would have to pay a $5 or $10 admission fee to access the street.

Other options include more tightly controlling admission when the street becomes dangerously crowded, or stopping people from entering until the crowd thins out.

The Beale Street Development Corporation says they don’t agree with the Beale Street Bucks proposal, saying any fee would deny equal access to the historic area.

On Resurrection Sunday Afternoon, back in 2014, I was sitting beside my then-30-year old step son, watching “Avatar”, as my then-6 year old grandson came over and crawled up between us, putting his head on his Daddy’s chest. He was worn out from attending church with us that morning, followed by a lunch of ham, au gratin potatoes, and deviled eggs, which Grandma cooked, finished off by a dessert of all the chocolate that the Easter Bunny brought.

Of course, that darn rabbit had made a stop over here.

As I watched my grandson laying there, I thought about what a difference having a father makes in a boy’s life.

My father certainly made an everlasting difference in mine. He is the one who led me to Christ, counseling and supporting me, and loving me until he passed away after Christmas in 1997.

I think of him and thank God for him often.

I have had the privilege of being the step-father of 3 very different boys, now grown into young men. The first one works as an account executive with a major company. The second one is a seminary student who is planting a church in Midtown Memphis. And the last one, who I mentioned earlier, is an over the road truck driver, who is home every weekend.

I think often about all three of these young men often and pray that I have made a difference in their lives.

What got me thinking about the role that fathers play in the lives of young men, is all of the gang-related violence  and black-on-black homicides, that are going on in our American Cities, like my Hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

In today’s modern culture, the stigma of having a baby out of wedlock is quite frankly no longer a stigma. In some corners, especially the Liberal ones, It is actually considered a sign of Feminine Independence.

Among a lot of the young black male population, it is a sign of prestige to be a player, or, as we used to call it, a “ladies’ man”.

This practice has become so popular, that now 75 percent of America’s black population is being born out of wedlock and being raised without a father.

Grandfathers, uncles, clergy, and school coaches and principals try to fill in the gap and help these boys as they grow up, but a boy needs a man around every day of their life.

They need a consistent role model to teach them right from wrong, how to treat women, and how to be a man.

Regardless of what all of the Liberal experts say, a male father figure is essential in building a young man’s self- image.

So, what’s the answer?

A song that Elton John came out with during his comeback in the 1980s goes,

Mama don’t want you
Daddy don’t want you
Give it up baby, baby
Mama can’t buy you love

Municipal and Federal Governments can throw as much money at the problem of gang-related violence as they want to, but, until this Cycle of Irresponsibility, i.e., irresponsible parents creating irresponsible kids, somehow gets broken, through prayer, education, and community/church involvement, crime will continue to escalate in America’s Cities.

Because, if the parents do not want to love, care for, and raise their children in the way that they should go, the gangs and the other criminals in the ‘Hood sure will.

Until He Comes,




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One Response to “#BlueLivesMatter: Police Officer Killed in Hit-and-Run By Murder Suspect in Downtown Memphis. It Doesn’t “Take a Village”. It Takes a Father.”

  1. Rifleman III Says:

    Reblogged this on Rifleman III Journal.

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