CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Joe Pitts offered a solemn address to the citizens of Clarksville on Thursday in the wake of a double homicide Wednesday night in the parking lot of a local restaurant in the City’s busiest commercial district.
The crimes hit home with particular force for Mayor Pitts, who was dining inside the restaurant with a group of friends and family members when the crime occurred outside.
Here is his statement, issued to the City at the start of Thursday’s regular meeting of the City Council:
“Ladies and gentlemen:
“(Wednesday) night our city experienced a crime that is unfamiliar to us -- a double homicide at a local restaurant. According to reports from our police department, rival motorcycle gangs chose to exercise lawlessness and commit cowardly acts.
“We are in prayer for the families who lost two loved ones last night. We are also in prayer for our law enforcement personnel as they pursue those who committed the crimes. They will be found, and they will be brought to justice. Acts of this nature will not stand.
“Let me pause to commend our first responders who were quickly on the scene. Our Police, Fire and Rescue, and EMS workers were very professional in their approach to attending to the victims, and gathering information from those of us in the restaurant. As a community we can all be proud of them not just for (Wednesday) night but everyday.
“I want to address the citizens of our community. Our first impulse as humans is to panic, or to think this is a beginning to a crime wave. Let me state without hesitation, it is not. For those on social media sites who find solace in believing and expressing the worst, let me encourage you to find the best, because it is out there. It is right in front of us everywhere we go.
“The actions of a few cowboys on motorcycles who deliberately sought out another human being to kill, are isolated but very unnerving. We don’t expect this sort of thing to happen in our beautiful city. But here we are -- 24 hours later -- facing the reality that it can happen anywhere.
“So (tonight), and the rest of our days, let us resolve to support our police. Support our first responders. And support one another.
“As we gather tonight in these chambers, or as we gather this summer for reunions, parties and homecomings, let's support one another.
“One thing I know about my hometown, we are resilient. We are determined. and when we set our minds to it, we are successful.
“May the Lord bless us and keep us. May the Lord make His face to shine upon us, and be gracious to us. The Lord lift up His countenance upon us, and give us peace.”