Tampa Councilman Frank Reddick says black males make up the majority of the city's murder victims

TAMPA - Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick along with other community leaders made a commitment to ending black-on-black at a town hall meeting tonight.

More than 100 concerned residents showed up for the meeting at Middleton High School.

"I came here tonight to find answers," said a male audience member to the panel.

Reddick called this meeting because he was "so disturbed" by the shooting death of Family Dollar Store manager Junior Shorter.  The 49-year-old was gunned down in July during a botched robbery.  He spent 23 years in the military and recently moved to the area to take care of his sick mother.

"Someone come walk in there that look just like him and commit a senseless crime," explained Reddick.

The suspect in the case, Demetrius Park, 23, is also black, like Shorter.

The councilman pointed to even more startling murder statistics to prove the time to act is now.  So far this year there have been 15 murders in Tampa.  Ten of the murder victims were black males and a majority of the suspects in those cases are also black.

"It's the 15, 16, 17 and 18-year-olds that are committing these crimes," Reddick added.

Community leaders came together to begin a discussion regarding solutions. 

In the crowd sat Shorter's mother.  She did not speak but listened to Reddick say the time to act is now.  She declined an interview with ABC Action News but told us she is doing better.

Most in attendance agreed a return to core values is at the root of the problem.  Suggestions were to have youth return to church, for education to be taken seriously and made a top priority and realizing family is of fundamental importance.

Prevention counselor LaDonaa Sheritt said working toward change needs to come sooner rather than later.

"I have three different families," explained Sheritt.  "Collectively there are 20 children all together and they have all seen drive-bys."


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