CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF)---Some of the leaders of street gangs in Chattanooga, apparently have agreed to a truce.
Such a "cease fire" would be a welcome relief after a violent month in which 16 people were shot.
The meeting was held on Sunday and reportedly included former and present gang members.
There are still a lot of questions about the clandestine meetings, particularly about who the individuals are, and whether they can deliver on their promises.
A packed auditorium at Tennessee Temple University last week is evidence that gang violence is at the top of almost everyone's worry list in Chattanooga.
Mayor-elect Andy Berke pledged to make it a top priority of his administration.
Then on Sunday, an unexpected bit of news about secret meeting between professed gang leaders.
STEVEN "SKIP" EBERHARDT, YOUTH LEADER "This is something that has been in progress for maybe two to three months. And, by me having some inside..information, if you will, that..we decided we'd try to put a cease to some of this violence."
Eberhardt says the representatives of various gangs met with him at a secret location and made a verbal agreement.
STEVEN "SKIP" EBERHARDT "If you didn't get ..do a shooting or a murder out here and was getting blamed for it..so, and was capable of going to jail ..especially when they are talking about a RICO law..so I think these young kids, they got together and realized what was up and decided they'd try to help stop all this violence."
Fred Houser, one of the coordinators of the Gang Task Force says local residents he spoke with are hopeful.
FRED HOUSER, COORDINATOR, GANG TASK FORCE "I thought that it's a great place to start. And it does have to start at the community base level."
Houser's partner at the Task Force, Boyd Patterson, said his organization had been made aware of the truce efforts.
BOYD PATTERSON, COORDINATOR "The city did not organize it, orchestrate it, but we were aware of its potential."
Since the first of this year, there have been more than 25 shootings and 6 have died.
Most of those were blamed on gang activity, although Eberharde points out that not all of them were, some shootings were over personal disagreements.
"SKIP" EBERHARDT "True gang members...I would say is a few. I would say the rest of them are like followers."
Skip Eberhardt stops short of admitting that he was once a gang leader.
But he now sponsors a group of young people who study for their GED's at New Horizon Baptist Church.