‘This is a war zone’: Memphis pastors plead for people to put down guns

The city has totaled more than 60 murders so far this year, up significantly from this point in 2020.

Video Transcript

BILL ADKINS: Why aren't we upset?

- That's the question Pastor Bill Adkins of Greater Imani Church and other pastors from across the city asked this Friday afternoon-- their anger, their plea, their frustration boiling over after another night of violence in Memphis. At least three teenagers hospitalized following shootings-- shootings destroying neighborhoods and how people live.

BILL ADKINS: Citizens are sleeping on their floors and in their bathtubs, falling asleep every night by the sound of gunfire.

- Adkins with strong words, saying something needs to be done quickly. People need to speak up if they know something about a crime.

BILL ADKINS: It's not snitching, it's saving. We become so easily angered about police brutality, which we should. But we should also be angered by the senseless murders, the homicides, the stray bullets that fly within our communities.

- He talks about the hurt a member of his congregation feels. They're a relative of a little girl recently shot and killed while in a home. The loss families like Steve [? Kinnon's ?] feel-- a 64-year-old retired Army veteran shot and killed after an apparent road rage incident earlier this year.

BILL ADKINS: Our communities are worse than some communities in Iraq, worse than communities in war zones. We have soldiers who go and fight for this country in other lands and go through these wars unscathed but come home to be struck down by a bullet.

- Adkins called for honest discussions, community forums, more police involvement, saying it's up to the community to hold those in power accountable. But most importantly, people must show they care.

BILL ADKINS: We have socioeconomic problems. We are aware of that. But we must stop making excuses for rampant crime that's taking the lives of citizens every day. I don't have all the answers, but I'm willing to work with anyone that does.