NAACP visits crime-ridden areas of Ft. Myers

Author: Adam Wright, Kristi Gross & Stephanie Susskind
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla.- While Fort Myers Police investigate the latest deadly shooting in the city, the Lee County chapter of the NAACP is reaching out to people living in that community and others.

Three members of the NAACP went out to the Cypress Court Apartments on Seminole Avenue Thursday afternoon. The complex is where a man was shot and killed Wednesday. Family and friends say Tre Irvin, 22, was gunned down in broad daylight.

Members originally planned to go door-to-door to talk to people about crime and violence in the area and encourage them to cooperate with local law enforcement, but security at the complex asked them to leave. Instead, the few members walked around the outskirts of the complex and called out to residents who were outside.

“Originally we were coming over her to sort of encourage residents to come forward with information. But apparently they’re doing that on their own and that’s the way it should be,” says James Muwakkil, President of NAACP Lee County chapter. 

Interim Fort Myers Police Chief Dennis Eads tells WINK News they are impressed with the level of cooperation from people in the neighborhood so far. They say several tips have already come in, including one that came in right after the shooting happened, Wednesday.

NAACP members also visited the Habitat community off Veronica Shoemaker Blvd, another neighborhood associated with violence and gang activity. They asked residents about what resources they need in order to change their community for the better.

“We walked around, we talked to several younger men and ladies and we offered them an opportunity for jobs… if they want to go get their GED, the NAACP is willing to pay for them to go back for their education,” said NAACP member James Buchanon.

In a one-on-one interview with WINK News, Muwakkil says he’s optimistic about being able to have a positive impact on the community.

“We know that there are issues there. We know that some of the young men there didn’t really finish high school, don’t have a trade, or gotten themselves perhaps caught up in something they now wish they weren’t apart of,” says Muwakkil. “If we get one of those young men a job and he’s able to go to work and get a paycheck and come back to that neighborhood and say I’m working over here and I’m making a paycheck. We think that would go along way in inspiring others to follow that particular pattern as well.”

Police are still searching for the shooter in this latest act of violence. Anyone with information can call Fort Myers Police at 239-321-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS and remain anonymous.


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