MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – A local church held a community meeting on Wednesday, calling on all parents, guardians and children to have an open discussion about violence in our community.
The event took place at the Midway Missionary Baptist Church in Theodore. Attendees posed questions to the panel of law enforcement and community officials about gun violence.
“How often do you all have family members or close friends of the abuser to report someone? said Pastor Anthony Brooks, of New Hope Baptist Church in Wilmer, Ala.
“What kind of program does the state or the federal government have in place to rehabilitate this child? Because most of the time these kids come out and do the same thing, a repeat offender,” said Pastor Leonard Whitfield of Midway Missionary Baptist Church.
There were others, who shared their personal experiences, including Taryn Taylor Brooks. Brooks’ son was shot dead in a senseless act of violence in 2021.
“On April 30 of last year, he was shot in the head on Airport Boulevard,” Brooks said. “The bullets went through the wall and hit my child, but they were looking for someone else. And as a mother who had tried to do everything right, my husband and I tried to put them in things, to keep them busy.
This open panel gave community members who are fed up with youth violence the opportunity to speak with leaders who have the capacity to help address these issues.
“They must feel the need to have a gun because they know other people have guns,” Tinisha Trotter said. “They’re scared, they said they wanted to shoot someone before they got shot. And that’s something I’ve heard in church with good kids.
This event also gave officials the opportunity to get a sense of what might be playing a role in the overall problem of youth crime.
“Creating gun ownership laws doesn’t necessarily impact the people who were trying to reach out,” Mobile Public Safety Director Lawrence Battiste said.
“Make sure they go to school. Make sure their needs are met. They’re on the street, and they’re alone and what do you think they’re going to do? declared the presiding judge of the Mobile Court, Edmond Naman. “They’ll be looking for any arm that will reach out and bring them back, and if we don’t reach out, someone else surely will.”