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Memphis youth advocate speaks out on need for more youth mentors

One community advocate is sounding the alarm and calling for more mentors to come forward.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A shooting that led to another overnight in Raleigh left six people injured at Methodist North Hospital.  

Three teens were charged. 

Memphis police said officers were working a traffic stop when they heard several shots and saw a white SUV on Sycamore View Road.

Police searched the area and found a white Infiniti at the Tanglewood Apartments.

They also say they found three teens, Reginald Felix, 19, a 16-year-old, and a 17-year-old stole the car, and someone shot at them on Raleigh LaGrange road.

Police then got called to Methodist North.

“You don’t have to have a permit or anything to carry," said Detrick Saulter, founder of F.A.T.H.E.R.S., an organization working to enrich child and father relationships. "I think that has a lot to do with it, just anybody can carry a gun right now concealed or unconcealed. So it’s just the wild wild west.”

A fourth person, a 25-year-old man, was also hit and taken to Methodist North.

Saulter said the biggest thing teen boys in Memphis are missing is supervision from parents. 

"The fathers are the key components because they don't have anybody to show them the right way to go," said Saulter.

Stepping up himself, Saulter is also working with Youth Villages in a new mentoring initiative to support children and teens, whether they are the victim or the assailant. 

“I think they have a lot more respect than we give them credit for it," Saulter said. "If we just approach them and talk to them to see what's going on, a lot of times they’ll talk to you and explain. Then we can help them that way.” 

He believes music culture and environment are making a recipe for more violence in the city.  

“A lot of music that they listen to now is promoting gun violence," Saulter explained. "Just the slang that they use talking about killing now all these hybrid gangs that are around here. Gangs are a hazard now because they’re mentoring kids instead of the adults.” 

Saulter said he’s especially motivated to step up to mentor youth – preventing more gun violence in the future – to save anyone else’s sister, brother, mom or father from being killed.  

Police said the three teens face charges of theft of property. Only the 16-year-old was taken to juvenile court. 


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