MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mayor A. C. Wharton Jr. is announcing a campaign to fight what he calls an epidemic of gun violence by young men on the Memphis streets.

Details disclosed Friday by Wharton and Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong include mentoring programs, promotion of employment and educational opportunities, and increased police patrols in specific “hot spots” of criminal activity.

Wharton said the campaign targets young African-American men who obtain weapons illegally and use them while committing crimes. The program includes high school students who will get the message out to their peers.

Wharton says Memphis has a gun violence rate higher than the national average. As he spoke, police were working a crime scene where two boys ages 15 and 17 were critically hurt after being shot outside a community center.

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