Louisville civil rights leader prays alongside police for end to gun violence

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 11:43 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2021 at 12:47 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After 112 homicides in less than seven months, a prominent civil rights figure appealed for unity to stop Louisville’s out-of-control gun violence.

“I want us to stop pointing our fingers at one another,” Reverend Charles Elliott Jr., the pastor of King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church, said. “Let’s unite together. We’ve got to get it done, y’all.”

The remarks followed a rally in the Algonquin neighborhood that included prayers for peace and a challenge to neighborhoods most affected by the city’s violence.

“Telling people we’ve got to come together,” Elliott said. “We can’t depend on the police to do it; it can’t be done with policing. It’s going to be done with all of us coming together.”

Police have messed up across the country by the way they handle problems in communities in need, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Erika Shields said.

“It’s imperative that the community has some level of trust in us if we’re going to get a handle on violent crime,” Shields said. “We need to be there for them. Like I said, it’s not enough that we just show up when there’s a homicide.”

After the killing of two teenage girls in two separate shootings on the same street, Shields and officers from the LMPD 2nd Division went door to door last week reassuring residents and asking for the community’s help. It’s a now familiar theme in the department’s new approach to communities most impacted by violence.

“This is our city,” Major Steve Healey said, “and we all live here. This is how we all come together and fix it. We do it together.”

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