A father who splits his time between Virginia and Memphis is raising awareness about the need for safe exchange zones after the death of his son.
“I never expected to get a phone call from a police officer telling me that my son had been shot and killed,” said Michael Grey.
The father of three says his 23-year-old son Joshua was killed while trying to sell his iPhone on the app Let Go.
When he went to meet up with the buyer in Richmond, Virginia he was shot and killed.
“Josh thought going to a local store, a small little store on the corner that he thought was safe,” said Grey.
Within a week, two teens were arrested in connection to the crime.
Grey and his family immediately came up with a way to keep Josh’s story alive.
“I said I’m going to put up a billboard,” Grey said. “When you see Josh’s face, I want people to see him and say, ‘That’s the person who lost their life because they didn’t go to a safe exchange zone.'”
Billboards with Josh’s face have popped up in six different states and including Tennessee.
The billboard advocating for safe exchange zones can now be seen from I-40 east near Saint Jude Children’s Hospital.
Safe exchange zones are usually designated public spots with a lot of security where people can meet online buyers and sellers.
“You never know who’s on the other end of that transaction or on the other end of that email or the other end of that text message,” said Grey. “If you make arrangements to sell an item or buy and item do it in safe exchange zone. Don’t do it where something that happened to Josh can happen to you.”
A safe exchange zone was recently designated at the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office parking lot.
Memphis Police also encourages people to use its precinct parking lots because of high visibility.