NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – For the families of crime victims like Loren Ross, the difference between justice and a cold case can be a phone call.
The call could be from a witness or someone who knows who committed the crime.
Ross was shot and killed in July 2013 outside a busy nightclub with people in the area, but still witnesses have not given police the information they need to make an arrest and get a conviction for his murder.
“Go beyond just words and have the courage to step forward,” his sister Rita Phillips recently told News 2 . “Think about how you would feel if it were a member of your family.”
Metro police told News 2 that when they did an analysis of shooting cases, they found the majority of victims or witnesses would not cooperate.
“It may have been 2014 we did an analysis of the shootings that occurred in the precincts, and we determined that 60 percent of the shooting victims did not cooperate with the investigation for whatever reason,” North Precinct Commander Terrence Graves said. “I can’t say it is a culture where people consciously say, ‘I am not going to tell.’ I think it is more so people are actually just afraid.”
People have told News 2 in the past that the fear of retaliation from the person involved in a crime keeps them from telling police what they know.
In some cases, witnesses are coerced not to cooperate or testify.
Commander Graves said whenever one of his detectives or officers discovers a retaliation or coercion case, he calls the Davidson County District Attorney’s office personally to seek prosecution.
“When we can prove someone has been retaliated against, or there has been some coercion, we go after it and we have made arrests this year,” he said.
Former Metro Councilman Loniel Greene is charged with one count of coercion of a witness after prosecutors found recorded jailhouse conversations where Greene is heard promising to talk to his cousin’s ex-girlfriend about testifying in a case involving the woman and his cousin.
Commander Graves said the police department is making progress in getting more people to feel safe cooperating with police investigations.
“Everyone knows that is an issue and we need people to come forward,” Commander Graves said. “When we have crimes to occur that is a hurdle we have to overcome.”
You should also remember you can give information to police anonymously through the Crime Stoppers program. Tips can be submitted by calling 615-74-CRIME.
If your information leads to a conviction, you could receive a cash reward.
News 2 is committed to tracking crime across Middle Tennessee. Visit wkrn.com/crimetracker for the latest in your area and tune in to News 2 Thursday, Sept. 1 after the Titans game for our special CrimeTracker report.