Memphis Newspaper Captures the Sights, Sounds and Searing Pain of a ‘Wounded City’

Reporter Marc Perrusquia spent months working on The Commercial Appeal's six-part investigation of gun violence

In today’s part 3 of “Wounded City”, a series launched over the weekend by The Commercial Appeal, the focus is “Stolen Guns.” At one point in the piece, Memphis police director Michael Rallings says, “If I could repeal one law, that’s the one I would focus on.”

Rallings is referring to a 2014 Tennessee state law that allows residents to take loaded guns into their vehicle, without a permit. From the article:

It [a gun used in a fatal incident involving teenagers] was among some 9,100 firearms reported stolen in Memphis between 2011 and June 2016–mostly handguns, rifles and shotguns along with 125 weapons police designated as “assault rifles’’ (even a 40mm grenade launcher)–providing the inventory for an underworld gun expo on the city’s streets.

The newspaper linked those weapons to 21 homicides including McGill’s, 27 robberies, 62 aggravated assaults, 64 drug cases and as many as 600 other crimes, though inconsistencies in police data made a precise count impossible.

There’s a daily 15-minute podcast episode to go along with each “Wounded City” article. The audio for “Stolen Guns” profiles Stanley Stanback, a mechanic who purchased an illegal weapon after his son was murdered.

Rounding out the Gannett team for this effort: Brad Vest, who handled the photography and video; Forrest Goodman, audio and podcasts; and Jason Viera, in charge of design and graphics. The aforementioned Rallings also contributed an op-ed, “Crime Challenge Is a Community Challenge.”