Mayor announces plan to attack violence

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Selma Mayor James Perkins said he is concerned about the large number of shootings that have occurred in the city over the past few months and wants to implement a “mercy strategy” to try to alleviate the problem.

The mayor’s plan, which he hopes to put into action today, calls for people to turn over their illegal guns to police with “no questions asked.”

“We are trying to get family members and church members to turn in illegal guns and get them off the streets,” Perkins said. “This mercy strategy gives families an opportunity to deal with the issue now instead of when their children are sent to jail.”

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The mayor said the second step to his plan would be a “no mercy strategy,” where anyone found guilty of a crime involving guns could be sent to jail for longer periods of time.

“Most of these shooting are being perpetrated by the same people over and over again,” Perkins said. “We need to put these folks in jail, lock them up, and keep them in jail. These mothers know where their children got these guns. If they fall short, they should not be expecting mercy.”

Perkins’ announcement came during a Monday press conference with Selma Police Chief Robert Green about the Saturday shooting outside the Highland Avenue McDonald’s.

Selma police charged Lorenzo Walker with attempted murder and shooting into an occupied building after he allegedly shot his girlfriend’s pregnant sister during an argument at the birthday party of Walker’s daughter.

The suspect fired his weapon at least eight times from the parking lot of the restaurant, hitting 19-year-old Latoya Powell in the right of her chest and right shoulder.

Six bullets were imbedded into two different parked cars, and two bullets entered the restaurant through a plate glass window, barely missing the children at the birthday party.

Green said Powell told police she and Walker exchanged words during the party, and the argument then continued outside.

Powell was taken by ambulance to Vaughan Regional Medical Center, where she was treated and released.

“Both she and the baby are going to be fine,” Green said.

The police chief said he had no idea what caused the feud, but the argument was a continuation of one that began about two weeks ago.

Walker had no prior record before his arrest. He was taken to the Dallas County Jail and is currently awaiting a bond hearing.

Green said the case is still under investigation and more charges could be filed against the suspect.