East Texas college struggles with gang problem

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - Gun shots were reportedly fired outside of America's Best Value Inn in Jacksonville. It is the place where 300 Lon Morris College students live.

"Lon Morris College grew too fast," said Dr. Miles McCall, the Lon Morris College President. "Ok, we did. We needed to grow. Our survivability depended on growth."

The school added a football team last year, and in just two years, the school has tripled in size.

Daniel Franklin with the Jacksonville Police Department says college students are to blame for multiple fights that broke out over the weekend. The last ones ended in gunfire.

"It's just the fact that one's bloods, one's crips, and they don't get along," said Franklin. "That's what everybody at this point is telling us. That's what it is all about."

"The perception right now of the community is that we are not doing anything," said McCall. "We are doing everything we can, but to be honest, the gang activity exists in all communities. We are a victim also and we need help."

McCall says the school has implemented a new curfew, hired extra security and will expel students who are involved in criminal activity.

As fingers are pointed, Lon Morris students say they are not the ones to blame.

"From my understanding, things have been going on around here, and we just got here," said Brandon Jones, a student.

"When you hear that there is a big gang problem, is it true?" said Bennie Keener, a student. "I don't think so. I really don't think it is anybody out here...somebody is probably just telling them lies."

Jacksonville Police say they will put an end to this, securing the safety of the community. Police have not made any arrests. They are reviewing surveillance footage and continue to investigate the incidents.

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