NORTHAVEN -- Children are shielding each other from bullets as gangs take over Northaven. That's where gang members from all over the Mid-South are now going to hang out.
They're fighting, shooting and robbing people, while those living in Northaven are struggling to maintain control.
They're locked in a battle to keep their neighborhood livable. Just about everyone has a story about an attack or a shooting. All are trying to avoid becoming the next victim.
"I screamed and my momma said duck," says Markayla Carahan.
At 6 years old, she's already lived through a gang fight. She's describing how she and her family survived a shootout in front of their house on Thursday, August 11th.
"I was scared, and I was crying," she says.
"All we heard was a shot and pop pop pop pop," says her grandmother Leonia Moore.
They point out the places where the bullets came inside, right into their living room.
"They shot the bullet right through the tv," says Moore.
The shots narrowly missed Markayla and her two year old brother Patrick who were playing in that living room.
"He was up in his swinger and he was in his seat belt," says Markayla. "He was trying to kick up out of it cause he didn't know what was happening."
It was another gang fight, with the children caught in the middle. Just one of many every week in Northaven.
"These crimes happen and the residents are the ones paying the price," says Sgt. Charles Eldridge.
Sgt. Eldrige works with the Shelby County Sheriff's Street Crimes Unit. He says the gangs are moving in as members come to Northaven to hang out.
"Whatever happens somewhere else they bring the violence over here," says Stebra Fitch, a Northaven resident.
"They're not living here, but there coming in here," adds JoAnn Williams.
Neighbors like Fitch and Williams have seen and heard countless shootings. After 24 years of living in Northaven, Williams feels like she's trapped.
"I don't go out at night. I don't even go to church at night when it's dark," she says.
Deputies run constant patrols through the neighborhood, but say solving the problem isn't easy. There are too many empty, run down houses. The gang members are never the same.
"That's where our problem lies," says Sgt. Eldridge. "We're getting new guys everyday that we don't know about."
Markayla's grandmother says they didn't know about the gangs. They've only lived in Northaven for one month.
"We thought we were moving into a good neighborhood," she says.
All thoughts of that were erased last night. Now her thoughts are of how to get out.
Deputies are still investigating the shooting on her street. They say the gang members responsible didn't live in Northaven, but were there arguing over control of the neighborhood.