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Groups unite to fight violence in Warren

More than 40 talk options at church

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Gary McElroy of Brothers Against Violence speaks at a meeting Monday at Third Christian Church in Warren over the concern of increased violence, including several shootings, in the city. More than 40 residents, clergy and city officials met to discuss ways to stop the violence.

WARREN — Warren resident Gary McElroy with the group Brothers Against Violence said in the past few weeks, he has received more than a dozen calls from residents concerned with recent shootings and violence in the city.

So to discuss ways to stop violence, the group met with more than 40 members of local clergy, city officials and residents Monday at Third Christian Church in Warren.

“We need to bring more awareness to the shootings that have been going on and to try to find a solution and ways to get this to stop,” McElroy said.

At least eight people have been shot in recent weeks in Warren, one of them fatally. Several other reports of gunfire have been investigated by police.

He said a teen boy was shot over the weekend and his family informed him the victim is on life support. More than a week ago, a 19-year-old woman was shot and killed at an apartment complex. A woman in a vehicle Thursday was shot at on Atlantic Street.

“I get a call almost every day about a shooting or about someone who got shot. It brings tears to my eyes. Years ago, shootings in the city were isolated to certain areas, but now it is widespread all over the city,” McElroy said.

Officials said much of the violence and shootings involve those between the ages 14 and 27.

McElroy said the problems often stem from the home, which also must be the source of the solution.

“When you think about what’s going on and everybody just talking about what’s going on, but nobody doing anything about what’s going on. So we needed people to come out and do something,” McElroy said.

Mayor Doug Franklin said the city is looking at ways and developing a plan to reach the youth in their neighborhoods and homes.

“We need to mobilize the community and work to help save the lives of young people. We will not tolerate any violence. It is unacceptable. We need to have dialogues with them and let them know we care for them and that this is their community. Too often families and neighborhoods are traumatized by what is happening,” Franklin said.

“Making sure that we have an actual plan as we move from this meeting into the streets and into our homes and into the neighborhoods. But I’m very encouraged because I know the commitment that’s been expressed to me about really addressing this and reaching out to the young people, too,” Franklin said.

Officials suggested Warren get together with Youngstown, Niles and other communities to come up with a solution.

Resident Anita Allen said she lost her brother, who was in law enforcement in Texas, in the line of duty six years ago, so she understands what it means to lose a loved one like many families have to violence.

“We need to take control of these young kids in Warren and other places right now. It starts at home. What are people doing allowing their child to have a gun? We should not have to live in fear or worry when our children go outside to play if someone drives by with a gun,” Allen said.

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