The following editorial appeared in the Fayetteville Observer:
The police earn big cheers for this one: Five young men are in jail, facing charges related to the Sept. 27 murder of 16-year-old Joseph Braxton III.
The cops caught them with little help from the public. They did it with good police and forensics work.
Braxton was gunned down as he arrived at a classmate’s “sweet 16” birthday party, where 10 adult chaperones were keeping watch over 20 guests – even patting down arrivals for guns. That’s what life is like out there in some parts of this city today. And that’s why even good news of declining crime rates doesn’t take away the chill we feel from violence in our streets.
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Several of the teens accused of the shooting are tied to street gangs, the police say. And they also may be tied to other acts of violence. Their reputation appears to be the reason the police had little cooperation from witnesses to the shooting. “I think that, frankly, a lot of kids are scared,” Chief Harold Medlock said Friday. “They’re scared of these guys. They were feared in the high school and many of the neighborhoods that send kids to high school.”
Medlock said he hopes that getting them off the streets will encourage more cooperation from witnesses. We’ll add our hope that this murder launches a furious effort to cleanse our city of gangs plaguing our children and our lives.
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