West end residents want Russell neighborhood violence to stop


by Kelsey Starks


Posted on November 29, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 29 at 8:26 PM

Gunshots rang out in the west end's Russell neighborhood for the second weekend in a row and for the second Saturday in a row, someone was killed. 

The latest homicide victim is 21-year-old Joe McNealy Jr.

"It keeps happening. Every day, it's a different murder. Every week,” said Lakeycha Pope, who knew the victim.

Friends say Joe McNealy was on 19th Street at Stone Alley when someone fired at least 8 shots at him at 5:00 p.m. Saturday and then took off.  McNealy died at the hospital.

Right now, a vigil remains in Stone Alley and a memorial on the road. But this isn't for the latest homicide victim. This is for another victim killed just last Saturday, three blocks away.

43-year-old Sabrina Bragg, whose friends called her "pinky," was gunned down at 4:30 in the morning at the edge of 16th Street and Stone Alley.

It was at her funeral Saturday, when her friends got a phone call.

"As we were leaving the funeral to go eat we get a phone call that, he's like a cousin to me, just got killed," said Pope.

"Every week we're going to funerals. Back to back every week. It’s called anger, rage, hell and chaos through the means of homicide."

The Russell neighborhood residents took to the streets last Monday for a vigil in Sabrina’s honor in an attempt to stop the crime.

 “At one time, we had 50 kids on this square. No problems, no nothing. But it's just a sign of the times,” said Prince Moore, who lives nearby.

“We cannot run for it. We've got to resolve this problem.”

But for those who knew both of these victims, a resolution it isn't happening soon enough.

“It's a whole lot of black on black crime that shouldn't be happening. People just keep killing each other, killing each other, fighting,” said Pope.

“I keep telling everybody, it's not going to bring nobody back."

LMPD continues to investigate both murders.  They say they have no suspects, and no arrests have been made.

If you have any information in either shooting, you are asked to call Metro Police's anonymous tip line at 574-LMPD.