NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — It's going to take more than prayers to make the violence stop. That's coming from church leaders in Nashville, Pastor Aaron Marble says it will require action. This comes days after an innocent bystander, Shirley Crawley was shot and killed just driving to the store.
The message has to go outside the sanctuary and into the streets, says Marble. Gun violence isn't new but some believe there are solutions to help put an end to the crimes.
"I believe that the gospel of Jesus mandates that we talk about issues of justice," said Marble.
Pastor Marble says that is what he intends to continue to do at the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church and not just on Sundays.
He says before he stood at this pulpit, his predecessor was an advocate for justice.
Marble says it’s a part of this church's culture, one that doesn't separate its worship from its work. Marble says the sermons oftentimes talk about the crimes across the country and the crime going on outside the church doors.
On Tuesday, Shirley Crawley was killed in a shooting in Nashville while she sat in her vehicle at an intersection on her way to the store. Metro Police called the shooting an act of "senseless gun violence."
Marble says Crawley was more than an innocent bystander. "It’s a loss of life that, that’s someone’s friend, someone’s aunt, people who love her and are going to miss her."
Three teenagers were also injured in the shooting when bullets hit their car. Two are in critical condition.
Marble says there are community organizations and churches working together to put an end to the violence, but he says they can't do it all.
"I think public safety is a huge issue for our community and I don’t think that the traditional means by in which we have to define public safety simply as more policing is the answer," said Marble. "We’ve been getting more policing and we have more violence and more issues. While we respect our law enforcement officers, we’re grateful for the work that they do. I think as we see across the nation there’s a call and a time to re-imagine how we do these things call public safety."
He says communities need funding for youth programs and organizations to keep kids safe.
"Take a look at our city’s budget and make sure areas to keep our youth engaged, keep programs and schooling and education and all these other things that can help public safety, in the long run, are funded and structured in a way to really impacting our community," said Marble.
Marble says in the end, we can't ignore gun violence no matter your zip code.
"Many of our young people are able to get handguns before textbooks," he said. "In our communities, we see the availability of handguns is alarming to young people. "
So far this year more than 340 guns have been stolen from vehicles in Nashville, which police say often lead to being used by teens on the streets.
Marble says it doesn't matter if you live in Bordeaux or Belle Meade, he says this affects us all.