The relentless shooting spree sweeping the city has spurred the creation of numerous new anti-violence organizations that are now reaching out to victims’ families with a message of support for them and peace to the community.
The group Stop Shooting, Start Living and representatives of several other anti-violence groups brought their message of peace and to demand the black community to stop shooting each other – all of those killed in shooting homicides since June were black and brown people, according to police.
The group held a rally in Weeksville Housing Complex Tuesday evening where the family of Jahiem Guinn, 17, of 1625 Dean Street was shot at that same address. His mother Letitia Guinn made an impassioned plea to the public, talking about her son not receiving proper mental health assistance and being mixed up with “the wrong people.”
Two male blacks were seen running from the location after the shooting as police review security video from the NYCHA development.
The gathering was highlighted by the attendance of the Guinn family who expressed outrage that his life had to come to such a tragic end and he was abandoned by the system.
“I advocated for my son, I spoke to everybody,” Guinn said through tears outside the place the teen was shot dead. “My son has been in and out of (facilities) and he has only been out in society for five years. He was in a mental facility from age 5 to 12. He only came out in 2014 – before that he was locked up like a caged animal. For him to die like that is crazy.”
Listen to her pleas in this video:
Surrounded by advocates against gun violence, Guinn said her son was committing minor crimes and “I thought he would go to jail for stealing from stores.” She appealed to Mayor Bill de Blasio to assure proper mental health services to those who need it and proper follow up, that her she said her son didn’t receive.
Dequann Stanley, an outreach worker for Neighbors In Action of S.O.S. Brooklyn, said more people from Weeksville Houses should have come out to show support for the family and to condemn continuing violence. Only last month, another teen was murdered in front of the same building he noted.
“This is how you slow down gun violence by letting the people committing these atrocities know that it is no longer acceptable in our communities,” Stanley said. “This is the second shooting response that we have done here in less than a month, and I don’t see nobody here from Weeksville out here except for two teens that are fed up – where are my adults, where are the men, the women – where you guys at? Don’t wait until its one of your family members to join us – if you are not out here, you are part of the problem.”
Stanley said he has a 5-year-old son and “I can’t fathom losing my son – I’ve lost a nephew and a host 0f cousins.”
“I need you guys to step your game up – every time there is a shooting here, we will be out here,” Stanley said. “Let these young people know who are carrying these guns that it is not acceptable and nothing funny about taking someone’s life out here.”
Rodney Cox with Anti Violence Initiatives said young people have no jobs, no school and community centers have failed them. He said schools are not teaching practical skills like carpentry or home economics, and “kids are involved with electronics, teach them how to work with it.” He said he is outraged by the continuing violence.
“You lock them down for 90 days and let them out with fireworks – it makes no sense – give them something to do,” Cox exasperated.