Pine Bluff murder prompts community leaders to take action

PINE BLUFF (KATV) - With more than 100 homicides in Pine Bluff in the past decade, and the latest one happening Friday night, a local pastor desperate for a solution turned to the community for support.

"With the great amount of homicides that have happened within the last 15 to 20 years here in pine bluff it says that something needed to be done," said Rev. Jesse Turner, of Elm Grove Baptist Church.

The amount of crime in city is unlike most areas in the country. Nine-nine percent of the cities in the nation are safer than Pine Bluff. But Rev. Turner insists the solution to it all lies in the community itself.

"Mentors are the greatest tools in my sight to help our young boys and our young girls make the right choices having someone there to direct them away from killing each other and having them to make the kind of choice of getting an education and becoming productive within the city," said Rev. Turner.

And so Rev. Turner expanded the CARES Mentoring Circle, a national program that focuses on mentoring at-risk African American children. Rev. Leon Williams, of True Vine E Missionary Baptist Church, is also part of the initiative.

"We need more mentors we need some men that's not talking the role but actually walking and living it and that's why I'm involved because I see a need," said Rev. Williams.

With cares, Turner will gather children and connect them with mentors who through a year-long relationship with deliver a simple message.

"Don't use a gun to solve you problems we need mentors telling them that," said Turner.

Williams says with hard work, a vision and faith, the program will be a success.

"Yes, it'll work. This will work. Cares will work," assured Williams.

Cares is currently recruiting mentors for the CARES program. If you're interested you can call Rev. Jesse Turner at 870-536-7274 or e-mail him at