Is Downtown Memphis safe?
People are asking the question after two shootings at Thursday night's Independence Day celebration downtown.
Police moved quickly to catch one of the suspects - 18-year-old Tashun Jenkins has been charged in one of those shootings.
Police say it's tough to prevent this. Their event plans worked Thursday night and the suspect was arrested less than a half hour after the shooting happened.
MPD says downtown is safe for families.
Good Samaritan comes to rescue of shot teen
Downtown shooting sends teen to hospital
A peaceful night Thursday of celebration shattered by gunfire. Thousands of people were downtown to see the fireworks. One person in attendance started shooting into the crowd near Riverside Drive and Beale Street and hit a 13-year-old boy in the leg.
"I don't know if he was celebrating or what, but he fired a few shots into the crowd and struck that young man," said Lt. Col. Gloria Bullock. "We made an arrest on that within an hour."
Jenkins is facing an aggravated assault charge. Police are still investigating and there could be more charges on the way. The 13-year-old survived the shooting. He was treated for a non-critical wound at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.
There were 200 additional police officers on patrol for the 4th, police plan for events like this a year ahead of time, but they say it's tough to prevent something like this.
"Unfortunately you're never prepared for a juvenile taking advantage, for an adult taking advantage of a situation and misbehaving, that could cause problems for people that are downtown just to enjoy," Lt. Col. Bullock said.
There was a second shooting, too, later Thursday evening. Another teen had his or her leg was grazed by a bullet. No arrest was made in that case.
The incidents Thursday evening put downtown safety in the spotlight.
"There's other bad parts of town," said Kayla Brooks of Memphis. "It's just wherever you go there's always a chance of danger."
"I don't feel safe," said Tom Barker of Bartlett. "A lot of folks that live around here now don't feel safe with all the shooting, and especially the stuff there on the east end of Beale."
Lt. Col. Bullock is one of the people in charge of protecting downtown. She says people shouldn't think twice about visiting.
"We're doing everything in our power to make this a safe environment for anyone to enjoy," she said.
Police are investigating whether the shooting could be gang-related. They'll discuss any additional charges with the Shelby County District Attorney's Office.
You should expect to see many police officers downtown throughout this holiday weekend.
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