KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — During an 11 day span in September, there were six homicides in Knoxville. Eve Thomas, the Chief of Police, called it a surge in violent crime.
There have been 28 homicides so far this year. Now, leaders are asking for the community's help as many are still unsolved.
"This is unsettling, to say the least, to see six fatal shootings over an 11 day period," said Chief Thomas.
During a press conference on Friday, city leaders said that they realize there's a problem.
"Everybody deserves to feel safe," said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon.
"We have seen mothers, fathers losing their children to violence and children losing their parents," said Knoxville Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie. "This must stop."
Kincannon and McKenzie, along with Thomas, said that they strengthening their efforts to stop the rise in homicides. They said they're making it the top priority for law enforcement and the City of Knoxville.
During the press conference, Thomas stressed the importance of witnesses coming forward to help solve these investigations and get the perpetrators off the streets. She said that the police need the community to play an active role in stopping the rise in crime.
There are anonymous tip lines report information about crime and McKenzie said that if someone fears retaliation, they could reach out to local faith leaders as well.
"We are at a tipping point in our city and must all work together," Mckenzie said.
For Terry Walker Smith, the recent rise in crime hits home. She lost two of her sons to violence — one was stabbed and the other was shot.
"This is something I live with every day and I'm tired of it," she said. "My sons aren't coming back and I wish something could have been done to stop their murders."
She's thankful for the direction leaders are taking with their efforts and hopes the community listens, helping to stop the spike of homicides in Knoxville.
Even if you hear gunshots, KPD asks you to call in. Investigators have spent hundreds of hours trying to solve homicides and shell cases sometimes lead to answers.