Gang-related or grief-driven, Metro's gun violence sparks calls for new strategies

Gang-related or grief-driven, Metro's gun violence sparks calls for new strategies

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The recent spate of deadly shootings has prompted discussions among  Metro Council members police and Mayor Greg Fischer regarding tactics for dealing with gangs

"I'm not talking about specifics," David James (D-District 6) told WAVE 3 News Friday afternoon. "But we need to admit we have a gang problem."

LMPD investigators aren't saying whether Thursday's shooting that took two lives in Shelby Park might be payback or a continuation of the violence that left 14-year-old Troyvonte Hurt dead and two others wounded in Smoketown Wednesday night. But Hurt's home is little more than 300 feet from the site of Thursday's attack at the intersection of E. Kentucky & South Hancock Streets.

"We're hearing this was one gang from another part of town, coming in to this part of town," James said. "We don't have to name the gang, or do anything like that--but we have to address those problems."

"For every shooting, there's an emotional tie connected to that shooting," community activist Christopher 2x said. "That could trigger another--

James and 2X agree the Metro's more than 300 shootings this year constitute a public health crisis.  It's why trauma surgeons from the University of Louisville met with LT. Gov. Jenean Hampton in Frankfort two months ago.

It hits home with Public Defender Chip Rogalinski, who also heads the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association.

"(Hurt) was the last one out of our Community Center Wednesday night," he said. "I went to his football coaches. Lots of questions and I just wanted them to know I was sorry."

E. Oak Street's pockets of restoration have hit critical mass, Rogalinski said, such that more of the new money coming in is private investment rather than public.

"We have our first bakery (Scarlet's) in years," he said. Zach Hensley's 'Good Folks Coffee' is one of the suppliers.

"Just like any other part of the city, there's some bad apples as well," said Hensley, whose business began in Jeffersontown and moved from Hurstbourne. "There's great people here. We want to stay here."

"We're going to double down and work harder," Rogalinski said, echoing the credo that safety and progress come by building relationships.

James sees responsibility and accountability as the keys.

"It'sreal important that we talk to parents about being parents," he said. Parents should understand that their kids should not be out in the middle of the night. If you see gang symbols or attire on their social media, address it."

"If you just think it's a gang-related situation, I think you're missing the point," 2X said. 'It's about attitude, opportunities, respect. A whole lot of things."

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