Community leaders in D.C. are working to stop the violence in the city by asking themselves where to go from here after 15-month-old Carmelo Duncan was shot and killed Wednesday night, another painful reminder of the District’s gun problem.
Pastor Devin Turner of Revolution Church says it's up to everybody — the community, the police and the D.C. Council — to find a solution.
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“Whether you call yourself a violence interrupter, whether you're a resident, whether you're a pastor, whether you're an ally to the plight of the marginalized, we need to work together with unity,” he said.
As that work continues, D.C. has reached a 15-year high in homicides.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham says the root cause is illegal firearms, but Turner says it goes much farther than that.
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“We have a lack of education,” he said. “We have a lot of trauma. We have a lot of drug addiction and abuse, a lot of violence.”
Lifelong Ward 8 resident Rev. Anthony Motley says providing opportunity is crucial to curbing the violence and called on District leaders to do more.
“These young people are smart; they’re very intelligent,” he said. “And you’ve got to give something to get something, and they're not giving these young people anything that’s tangible.”
Motley says communities touched by violence cannot wait for the government to solve the problem.
“The hope is that we, as a community, that we will hold each other accountable and that we will hold our elected officials accountable,” he said.
Having lost another young person to violence, Turner says he understands if people feel things won’t get better but he’s not ready to accept that.
“In the midst of the tragedy with Carmelo, my hope is that if true people that believe love and really, really have compassion for others just sit back and throw their hands up, then evil wins, violence wins, and I’m not going to stop,” he said.