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Hundreds of Memphis families still seeking justice as police department rolls out new crime unit

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 9:57 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new Memphis police unit is now on the streets of the Bluff City.

The SCORPION Unit is made up of 50 officers whose goal is to stop violent crime before it happens.

The family of one homicide victim says the community needs more resources to fight crime. Braylon Murray’s family said he had big plans. At 11 years old he was thinking of ways to improve his family’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

At 13 he was writing and recording music, addressing social issues, and urging his peers to stay away from crime.

“It’s heartbreaking because Braylon had so many dreams,” said Braylon’s mother, Sharika Carpenter.

In August, 17-year-old Braylon was shot and killed. Braylon’s death is one of more than nearly 300 homicides in 2021 in Memphis. Memphis police say as of November 15, 283 homicides have occurred in Memphis in 2021, 249 have been ruled murders.

That means nearly 300 Memphis families are grieving. Braylon’s family said there have been no good days since his death.

“I found strength in my brother in a lot of ways,” Braylon’s sister Kaylon Carpenter said. “He was younger than me and I’m the oldest, but my brother helped me a lot in life.”

“Anytime we lose a life, it’s one too many,” Memphis Police Assistant Chief Shawn Jones said.

Memphis police are responding to the increased violent crime with a new unit called the SCORPION Unit.

SCORPION is an acronym for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods. It’s a 50 percent unit made up of three components - crime suppression, auto theft task force, and gang prevention.

Police said it’s a proactive approach to crime.

“It’s important to us that each member of the community feels like they can go to the grocery store, or live in their house without their house being shot, or shootings frequently occurring on the streets and the roadways,” Jones said.

The unit will hit ‘hotspots’ or areas of the city where more 911 calls come from

Braylon’s family said they want to see justice for Braylon. One man has been arrested for his murder. Another suspect, Jarquez Mallory, is still being sought by law enforcement.

They hope this proactive measure works and prevents another family from having to go through what they’re going through.

“Rather than wait until somebody’s child has to be picked up off the ground, let’s do something to prevent it,” Carpenter said.

The Braylon Murray Project has taken up causes Braylon was passionate about. On Thanksgiving Day. the group of volunteers will serve food to those who need it. To volunteer with the group, click here.

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