Charles Gee never expected to be a victim of gun violence. Gee, an attorney who graduated from the FAMU College of Law, was an undergraduate at FAMU when he learned how guns can change a person’s life.
“I didn’t really think that could be my reality,” Gee said. “I kinda thought I was immune to gun violence.”
Gee was shot six times in a bar on West Tennessee Street after an escalated altercation with an artist who was unable to perform during a talent showcase that Gee was hosting.
The bullet that went through his throat affected his larynx and his speech to this day. Yet in many ways Gee fits a profile for Tallahassee victims of gun violence.
Tallahassee Police Public Information Officer Kevin Bradshaw said that both victims and suspects of local gun violence are “overwhelmingly African American” and between the ages of 20-25.
For some, that’s not a hard statistic to believe. Tallahassee resident Tony Ash’s friend Devin Landers was shot and killed in 2017. “The lifestyle that we live, it’s bound to happen,” Ash said. “When you carry yourself a certain way in this city, anything can happen at any time.”
Landers, an African American, was 24 years old when he was shot by Lapadre Sharpe in the Dixie Condos off Dixie Drive.
Bradshaw explained that the Tallahassee Police Department gets calls all the time about gun violence, and TPD breaks it down into three categories to get the most accurate statistics. The categories are calls where people are shot at but not hit, shot at and injured, and shot at and reported dead.
“That’s generally how we track it,” Bradshaw said.
To crack down on the gun violence in Tallahassee, Bradshaw described the different initiatives and tactics put into place, including the “9 p.m. routine.”
“We are constantly urging people to lock their vehicles,” Bradshaw said.
He noted that a lot of the shootings can be traced back to auto burglaries. People will go into vehicles and steal firearms which in turn are used when disputes become deadly.
Lawrence Revell, Tallahassee’s new chief of police, is establishing an advisory committee. This gives residents in the community a chance to voice their concerns about their area’s problems directly to Revell.
While it seems easy to pinpoint the origin of gun violence in Tallahassee, local authorities are looking to build trust within the community to decrease these incidents.