‘Something has to be done’

Pastor Curtis Friday talks about the importance of creating an action plan during the roundtable.

‘Something has to be done’
June 02
00:05 2016

Roundtable discussion held to plan steps to decrease violence following recent shootings

Following a pair of shootings that left two men dead, City Council Member James Taylor hosted a roundtable discussion Tuesday evening to devise specific steps to decrease violence and promote community progression.

“We lost two promising young men too soon in our community last week: Eric Pegues and John McCravey. Something has to be done,” Taylor said.

According to police records Pegues, 41, was pronounced dead at Forsyth Medical Center shortly after he was shot multiple times outside Paper Moon Gentleman’s Club in the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 25. Just two days later, police responded to a reported shooting in the 1200 block of Bohannan Park Circle. Upon arrival, officers located Jonathan R. McCravey, 28, suffering from a gunshot wound to his abdomen.

McCravey, was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. While detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) have charged Sierras Deshan Cobb, 40, in the murder of Pegues, the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) is still investigating the murder of McCravey.

The deaths of Pegues and McCravey bring the total number of homicides in the year to eight. At the same point in 2015, only four homicides had occurred.

To begin the roundtable discussion, held at City Hall, all the names of those who have lost their lives to senseless violence this year were called, followed by a brief moment of silence. Taylor, then informed those in attendance that a team of community leaders would collect all ideas presented during the roundtable and that an action plan would follow in the coming weeks.

“Together we will decide how to move forward in this community,” said Taylor. “We believe that ideas for our action plan should be given to us by the actual community.

“That’s what it’s all about. To build an action plan to decrease violence in our community.”

As dozens of concerned residents took center stage in the council chamber, one point that was mentioned time and time again was the need for more economic development in low poverty areas.

Reginald McCaskill said, “If the young people and adults had more to do in their communities, they would not have time to commit senseless crimes.

“As a community we need to build infrastructure,” he said.

Lakita Crawford echoed McCaskill’s statements when she took the mic.

“We have to travel everywhere to make our money. We have to travel everywhere to spend our money,” said Crawford. That is not a coincidence.”

Other ideas that were mentioned a number of times included more youth programs designed specifically for young men of color, educational programs for adults and an improved job market.

While all are good ideas, longtime city native Torian Little said, “The only way we’re going to change anything in this city is if we come together as one.

“I am adamant about making a change and everyone in this city should be, too,” he said. “We as a whole don’t support each other. We have to put all our efforts together.”

Little also noted that members of the Winston-Salem Police Department should try to build a better relationship with those in the community. He said police shouldn’t just be in the community when something bad happens.

Police Chief Barry Rountree, who is a member of the team that will create the action plan, said that in order to make a difference, the WSPD has to have cooperation and information from the community. Rountree went on to say if nobody is willing to speak up or say anything, the police will continue to get the same results.

“People need to start speaking up,” he continued. “It’s easy to place the blame on me.”

Although a time and date has not been announced, another roundtable discussion is expected to be held to present the action plan to the community.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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