String of violence at Memphis malls - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

String of violence at Memphis malls

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

It's been an alarming start so far to 2014 when it comes to Memphis malls. 

It started in January when a group of men ran into Wolfchase Mall during a busy Saturday night, smashed glass cases and made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in Rolex watches, putting the mall on lockdown. Then just nine days later, there was an attempted smash and grab robbery at Oak Court Mall. 

In February, a shooting during an attempted robbery at Southland Mall sent one woman to the hospital. And this past Thursday, shots were fired at Oak Court Mall, leaving one man still in the hospital recovering from his injuries.  

MORE: Man shot inside Oak Court Mall

MORE: Oak Court Mall shooter still on the loose

This string of violence having many questioning, when will it stop? 

"You're just not safe anywhere, it doesn't matter where you go," Shopper Rosalind Johnson said. 

She says you won't catch her at any mall in Memphis nowadays, telling FOX13 since the recent string of violence, she's taking her money elsewhere. 

"Now I feel like I need to go out to the Collierville mall just to shop because I feel safer out there," Johnson said. 

With half of 2014's mall incidents happening at Oak Court Mall, it has some wondering if the mall is going downhill. 

"It's not a safe mall, I mean you can't park in the garage because you're afraid of being attacked there and now inside the mall, just don't feel safe anymore," Johnson said. 

"There's been other incidents there at the mall over the years, but they're very sporadic and they're not any more sporadic than anywhere else in the country," Shopper Leonard Temple said. 

Others say they're still willing to shop at Oak Court Mall, and Memphis Mayor AC Wharton is among them. 

"I shop there all the time, my confidence is not shaken," he said, adding that the malls are not the problem. 

"We know who is doing this, I'm not going to play this game of pretending that every boy in this town is responsible for this," Wharton said, "I'm going to be honest, it's our young, male blacks who are doing this." 

Wharton says that's why the city is continuing to push its 'Gun Down Initiative' to fight gun violence not only in Memphis malls but the entire city. 

"We know where they are, we know where they live, we know what the situation is," Wharton said, "We're going to take them where they are, let them know we believe there's some potential in them, and we're going to have programs and activities to deal with it." 

Meantime, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong says, they'll keep training for every worst case scenario. 

"In the last couple of years we've made it an interest of ours to focus on active shooters, more specifically active shooters in malls," Director Armstrong said, "We've done a great deal of training right there in Oak Court Mall." 

And they'll be ready, if it ever happens again.

"We know we'd have to put an officer in every home and every store to say this will never happen again," Wharton said, "The key is what do you do, how effective are you when it occurs." 

Meantime the suspected shooter from Thursday night's incident at Oak Court Mall is still out there. 

If you have any information on Otis Reddic, you can call Crimestoppers at 528-CASH.

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