Marjorie Taylor Greene mockingly impersonates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez while recounting her debate challenge

The New York Times

One High School, Five Students Fatally Shot

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The killings got here in speedy succession. On a chilly evening in late January, a highschool soccer participant was discovered unconscious and bleeding from a single gunshot wound. Two weeks later, a 16-year-old pupil was killed by what the authorities mentioned might have been a stray bullet. Four days after that, a co-captain of the dance crew was shot useless. In early March, a 15-year-old who final attended courses within the fall died from gunshot wounds. And final week, Anthony Thompson Jr., 17, was shot and killed by a police officer in a quick scuffle inside a cramped rest room on the identical campus, changing into the fifth pupil at Austin-East Magnet High School this 12 months to die of gun violence. Sign up for The Morning publication from the New York Times The capturing loss of life of Thompson, who the authorities mentioned fired a pistol and struck a trash can within the rest room moments earlier than he was killed, echoed a sequence of violent confrontations between African Americans and regulation enforcement officers. But it additionally stirred an all-too-familiar anguish in a neighborhood that residents mentioned has been gripped in an epidemic of gun violence besieging its younger folks. “These kids are losing their lives left and right for no reason,” mentioned Kiara Taylor, 21, whose brother, Justin, the soccer participant, was killed in what the authorities described as an unintentional capturing. “It makes it harder to get out of the house every day knowing another child has lost their life.” In a number of of the shootings, youngsters as younger as 14 have been arrested. The authorities mentioned the confrontation with Thompson escalated as a result of he was armed. In shaky movies recorded by law enforcement officials’ physique cameras, the officers are seen reaching for his or her weapons, with one opening hearth. A classmate, pinned to the tile flooring by one other officer, sees the seeping blood and cries out: “Help him! Please, help him!” An post-mortem confirmed Thompson was pierced within the coronary heart and lungs by a single bullet. The capturing, a video of which prosecutors right here launched this week after sustained neighborhood strain, unfolded within the midst of the homicide trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer lately convicted of killing George Floyd. But right here, a lot of the neighborhood’s outrage over Thompson’s loss of life was rooted in broader fears {that a} local weather of violence has woven itself into the lives of its younger folks. Knoxville, a metropolis of lush hills located alongside the Tennessee River with about 188,000 residents, recorded 37 homicides final 12 months, one of many deadliest years within the metropolis’s fashionable historical past. The City Council lately accredited a $1 million proposal to fund applications that intend to stem gun violence. “I think that this city is reeling,” mentioned Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen. “I think that the fact we’ve had five deaths of high school students means that clearly somewhere something is wrong. It’s unacceptable.” At a latest neighborhood expertise present, ladies carried out dances they discovered from TikTok in T-shirts that memorialized one classmate. In protests, they sat on the hoods of their mates’ vehicles, chanting “Black youth matter” and singing alongside to songs by rapper Lil Baby being blared from the audio system. “They’re angry,” Jacqueline Muhammad, whose 15-year-old daughter, Janaria, was the co-captain of the varsity’s dance crew, mentioned of her baby’s mates and classmates. “They’re hurt. They’re tired. And I hope and pray that no one else has to get hurt.” Austin-East, an arts magnet college with about 640 college students, nearly all of whom are Black, has been a mirrored image of the East Knoxville neighborhood’s satisfaction — but additionally of its struggles. The streets surrounding the varsity are dotted with overgrown tons and deserted storefronts, proof, residents say, of neglect and the entrenched poverty pervading the neighborhood. The college attracts its college students principally from these East Knoxville neighborhoods, and residents describe it as an anchor for the neighborhood. Students and fogeys wish to boast concerning the dance and humanities applications. But in addition they complain of outdated textbooks and a scarcity of counselors. And in a neighborhood that has seen an uptick in crime lately, Muhammad mentioned college students have been acquainted with lethal violence nicely earlier than the latest deadly shootings. Knox County Schools declined to touch upon the shootings, however officers mentioned that counseling and different providers have been accessible. The neighborhood’s anger and sorrow constructed up because the killings continued. Justin Taylor was killed Jan. 27 after the police discovered him in a automotive at a ministry heart with a gunshot wound; a 17-year-old boy has been charged with criminally negligent murder in his loss of life. Then, Stanley Freeman Jr., 16, was fatally shot in his automotive Feb. 12 as he was driving house, the police mentioned. A 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy face first-degree homicide costs, officers mentioned. Four days later, Janaria Muhammad was discovered unconscious with a gunshot wound. Jamarion Gillette, who officers mentioned had not been to highschool since September, was fatally shot on March 9. Thompson’s loss of life — the one one which concerned a confrontation with the police — has tapped into the broader tensions which have been infected in latest weeks because the nation watched the Chauvin trial. It additionally got here amid an uproar in Chicago over the discharge of body-camera footage exhibiting the capturing of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old who tossed a handgun behind a fence earlier than he was killed by a police officer. It occurred, too, days earlier than the capturing deaths of different younger folks throughout the nation, together with Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, who was wielding a knife and gave the impression to be attacking one other woman when she was killed by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, and the deadly assault on a 7-year-old woman who was shot inside a automotive in a drive-thru lane at a McDonald’s restaurant in Chicago. Allen, the Knoxville prosecutor, had initially resisted calls by activists, native elected officers and even the chief of the Knoxville Police Department to launch body-camera footage of Thompson’s capturing. But in a Wednesday information convention that stretched over two hours, Allen used 911 calls, textual content messages, and photographs from college safety and physique cameras to recount each the capturing and what had precipitated it. She wouldn’t pursue felony costs towards the officer, she mentioned, citing what she described as his cheap concern of deadly hazard to himself and different officers. She mentioned the police have been first referred to as after fights between Thompson and his girlfriend. The woman’s mom, Regina Perkins, instructed the police that Thompson had pushed her daughter and pulled her hair. In an interview with the Knoxville News Sentinel, Perkins mentioned she regretted calling the police. “I am so sorry, and I never meant for anything to happen to him,” she mentioned. “He was a good kid, he had dreams and goals, but he had some struggles.” Thompson was captured by college safety cameras strolling across the campus and speaking on his cellphone earlier than he went into the lavatory. After the officers arrived on the college, a college useful resource officer led them to the lavatory. Allen slowed down the body-camera footage and identified a gun within the pocket of Thompson’s hoodie. She later famous a gap within the cloth that she mentioned got here from firing his gun. Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon mentioned in an announcement Wednesday that she was “relieved” the footage had been shared. “This information, while imperative for transparency, is not easy to watch,” she mentioned. But legal professionals representing Thompson’s household argued that his loss of life might have been prevented. “When a suspect is a person of color, there is no attempt to de-escalate the situation,” Ben Crump, a distinguished civil rights lawyer who has been employed by many households of individuals killed by the police, together with the Floyd household, mentioned in an announcement after he was retained by Thompson’s household. “Police shoot first and ask questions later, time after time, because Black lives are afforded less value.” Over the previous week, Thompson’s title has been added to a listing displayed on posters and chanted in demonstrations: a set of younger folks killed by gunfire. Dozens gathered lately in a park down the road from Austin-East, and households shared tales of the kinfolk that they had misplaced. Kiara Taylor, Justin Taylor’s older sister, referred to as her brother an “entrepreneur” who frequently awakened early to mow lawns for cash. “He was very ambitious,” she mentioned. “It’s very important to me that that lives on, that people know that about him, that people know he was a good student. Austin-East is not full of bad kids.” The group took a meandering path via East Knoxville, carrying banners and sporting shirts commemorating those that had been killed. They handed properties with indicators declaring college satisfaction. “Pray for A.E. to be strong,” one mentioned. Sheenan Lundy, 36, burst out into college songs, with a refrain of voices becoming a member of her. “I’m so glad I go to A.E.,” they sang. “I’m so, so glad I go to A.E.” “Austin-East gives hope,” Lundy mentioned later. “It’s family oriented. It’s home. It’s love. It’s dedication. It’s pride. I could go on and on. It’s a special place. It’s a safe haven — no matter what they say about it.” It had been that for her, a graduate within the Class of 2003. Lundy might see it changing into the identical for her daughter, Shaniya Cherry, a 15-year-old ninth-grader within the dance program who was lately elected Miss Freshman. “I still love my school,” {the teenager} mentioned, including that she and her mates have relied on each other in latest months as they’ve navigated their ache. Her youthful sister, Aniya Mitchell, 9, piped up. She mentioned she had heard her older sister asking their mom concerning the law enforcement officials in school. Aniya, who shared a father with Janaria Muhammad, began to cry as she described her concern of encountering somebody with a gun. “You don’t want that to happen to you,” she mentioned. Shaniya reached down and wiped the tears from her sister’s face. This article initially appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company

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