‘IT’S LIKE WE’RE IN A WAR’: WEWOKA MOTHER FEELS CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF GANG ACTIVITY
News 9 - October 31, 2023 6:08 am
WEWOKA, Okla. –
A town under fire. Some residents of Wewoka say they are living in fear after a recent rise in gang violence.
The Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police says it is actively investigating several major crimes in the small town, all related to gang activity between two gangs. For one single mother, she said it’s like living a real-life nightmare, in constant fear.
“Living here right now is like a horror movie,” said Wewoka resident Jessica Hall.
However, this movie has an unclear ending.
“We’re always having to look over our shoulder,” she said.
Like many people who live in Wewoka, Hall says gang violence there has escalated into the community.
“It’s just the ongoing situation that’s been going on for months now and I’m just tired of it, my kids, they’re scared to death they don’t even want to be in the school system,” Hall said.
According to Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police, an incident earlier this year has led to two gangs retaliating against each other. Police say the targets are known associates of the gangs.
“It’s like we’re in a war,” she said. “I’ve never been to war, but it does feel like war.”
Because Jessica says she has relationships on both sides of this gang war.
“It’s like I’m in the middle of it, one side my family and the other side you know I grew up with a lot of these people around here,” she said. “Everywhere I go there’s somebody pointing a gun at me or they’re following me they’re harassing me.”
This weekend, the town cancelled its annual Sorghum Festival, the schools went virtual, and the high school football game was moved to another town.
“You know how the saying goes, ‘There’s no place like home?’ I don’t even feel comfortable to say that I don’t feel comfortable to say I’m from Wewoka,” Hall said.
Seminole County District Attorney Erik Johnson says his office is aware of the issues and is working with local, county, state, and federal authorities to beef up the law enforcement presence in the town.
“My office will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone that visits gun violence upon our communities,” Johnson said via his Facebook page. “I have received that same assurance at the federal level from U.S. Attorney Chris Wilson. This is developing and my office will keep you updated.”
For Hall, she’s ready for that peace of mind.
“I don’t want my children getting hurt or other children or anybody because nobody deserves this,” she said. “I’m just ready to rest that’s all I’m saying, rest like knowing I don’t have to worry.”