It’s only the middle of March and already there’ve been two murders in Covington.
On Feb. 20, Orlandus Cobbins, 29, was shot and killed during what police have described as a robbery gone wrong. On March 4, 23-year-old Chris Somerville was stabbed to death at the store next door to his home.
Two men have died and four children are fatherless.
While police chief Bennie Carver, who is set to retire in two weeks, has so famously said he didn’t believe Cobbins’ death to be gang-related, there is clearly a problem with gang violence.
If you pull up the Facebook page for Chris Somerville you will notice each of his photos includes him wearing Vice Lords colors, displaying the gang’s flag, throwing gang signs. It is well-known that his brother belongs to a rival gang.
They don’t hide it. Most gang members don’t, you just need to know what to look for.
On Monday, March 19, the Tipton County Board of Education, in partnership with the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office, the Covington Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies, will help educate the community about gangs. The gang awareness forum will take place at Covington High School.
And I think you should go.
The last session was held nearly five years and it was very informative. I walked away with handouts that detailed gang signs and symbols as well as information about who joins gangs and why. Back then I was new to this job, new to gangs and I didn’t understand them. I left there with a better understanding, though admittedly I’m still confused as to why violence has to be a part of the family they believe they’re joining.
Go to the meeting, even if you know about gangs, even if you think you can’t possibly learn anything more. Go because it’s shows the community is working together, the community is concerned, the community wants to take its streets back.
Go because you want your children, your grandchildren, to have a future. Go because you want your children and grandchildren to be able to play outside without the fear of a drive-by shooting.
This, my friends, is also not limited to Covington. We have gangs in every town in this county. We have gang members at every school, even our elementary schools and especially at our high schools. We have gang members who work in our community, from Taco Bell to the nursing home to inside our schools.
Three years ago my family moved into a foreclosed home in the county, between Brighton and Munford, and we found a six-pointed star, a sign of the Gangster Disciples, drawn at the top of one of my kids’ bedroom doors. Gangs are not just limited to one area of Covington.
Go the meeting because you want the violence to end.
Go to the meeting because you don’t want any more children to become fatherless because of the violence.
A students-only session will take place from 4-5 p.m. and a community and parents session will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m.