LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A violent week in Little Rock leaves the community searching for answers after three homicides in just three days.
Neighbors are calling on each other to stop the violence and put an end to the shootings.
7 people total were shot between Wednesday night and Friday, with 3 of the victims dying. The names add to a deadly trend plaguing little rock that Arkansas Stop the Violence founder Rev. Benny Johnson says he hasn’t seen since the ’90s.
But the trend of shootings seems to be noticed by many. Marlesha Jordan is the friend of Tasha Johnson, the 44-year-old mother who was killed Friday during a drive-by shooting.
Jordan was at the scene when Johanson’s death was being investigated and said the lack of information surrounding her murder was frustrating. “We don’t even know what’s going on,” Jordan said.
“Nobody’s seen nothing, it’s heartbreaking.” She adds that Johnson was innocent in the shooting, saying, “a good woman. A good mother. She was a good person.”
Johnson was one of two killed that day, joining Keyshawn Moseby, a 28-year-old who was found dead just miles away in a wrecked car surrounded by shell casings. Jordan says the two deaths back-to-back are just shocking.
“It makes me just want to get out in the street and gather people together and start praying,” she said, ‘We’ve got to do something because they’re going to continue to do their killing.”
But Friday wasn’t the only deadly day in the city. Wednesday saw three shot on University, with 18-year-old Caleb Sykes dying in the fray.
Rev. Johnson says the recent violent crimes point to a much bigger issue. “Little Rock is in a state of urgency,” he said. “Two lives are lost – one going to prison, one going to the graveyard.”
Johnson has a personal connection to the senseless killings, having had to bury many who were the victims of shootings. “I buried a lot of these young men and women myself and it hurts my heart,” he remembered.
He says change needs to begin with the community. Some suggestions he offered were making sure witnesses turn over valuable information and ending the “no snitching” streak, and encouraging parents to talk with their kids about conflict resolutions.
Another idea he had was making sure police officers engage with their community, including guaranteeing officers live in the city or close by so they can actively be part of the solution.
Johnson Saturday issued a challenge to local churches and places of worship, asking leaders to pray for the City of Little Rock and those who reside there.
He says prayer is one way to enact change and encourages the community to come together and start to heal.