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"It's terrifying" | Mental health expert explains community trauma after mobile mass shooting spree

“The further that we internalize it and don’t process it then your mind and body can’t heal because it’s kind of like the song that never ends.”

MEMPHIS, Tenn — It has been two weeks since Memphis police confirmed that a 19-teen-year-old went on a random shooting rampage around the city stretching across eight different locations, taking three lives and injuring three others. 

Suspect Ezekiel Kelly has since been charged with first-degree murder.

The crime scenes are cleared, but the trauma lingers.   

"A lot of people use social media as something that gets them away from whatever's going on in their world and so when that escape is bombarded with something that is so tragic that is real life, it's terrifying," said Melissa Donahue, the director of the concerned employee assistance program at Baptist Memorial Hospital.   

The suspect fled from police for more than five hours, allegedly shooting six innocent people, forcing the city on lockdown. 

At least one of the shootings was streamed live on Facebook by the alleged gunman.

For people living in Memphis, whether near the shooter or not, what remains is community grief.

“The further that we internalize it and don’t process it then your mind and body can’t heal because it’s kind of like the song that never ends.”  

That night ended with the shooting spree that shook so many and left some streets eerily quiet while Kelly was being apprehended.

“it’s still going to be there, but it’s present in a different kind of way and so you’re able to live your life in a way that those people who have victimized this city really don’t get to win.”  

Donahue said Memphians can take time off of social media and phone apps to recover from the trauma.

“Ok I find myself maybe not clicking on those things for maybe short periods of social media bites. Because this is so bothersome.”  

Instead focusing on things you can control and seek out support if needed. 

“We’re more alike than we are different," said Donhue. "People are the sum of many experiences in their life, but it doesn’t dictate their future. There can always be intervention to help a young man or woman to get on the right path."

She said it's a way people can take peace of mind and Memphis back.  

To seek therapy, check with your company's employee assistance program.  

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