Bessemer City adopts "Pledge of Unity" after teen's shooting death

Bessemer City Council meeting on Tuesday. (

The Bessemer City Council adopted a "Pledge of Unity" Tuesday after the shooting death of a teenager last week.

Eighteen-year-old Defarris Parham was shot and killed Friday night on the campus of Davis Middle School in Bessemer. Police have arrested 19-year-old Derionas Ronale Sewell in connection with his murder.

Councilor David Vance wrote the pledge, and within 30 days, the council intends to get the pledge out to students at Bessemer City Schools, having them sign copies as well.

"We gotta do something. We can't just let them kill each other like it's nothing going on...It's like it's the Wild Wild West," Vance says.

Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley says it's a case of a "senseless homicide" and any action is needed. However, he says homicide rates have dropped in the city and the most recent case is the first one in 2013. Gulley says, from 2011 to 2012, homicides dropped from 11 to four. He says he will continue to beef up police patrols.

"We don't want to see crime creep back up in our city. We will continue to double our efforts," Gulley says.{}