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Violence in Milwaukee Topped the Discussion Over the Weekend

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The question a lot of people in Milwaukee want the answer to is, how does the community stop the gun violence? People gathered at a number of locations over the weekend to discuss the problem.

One case particularly disturbed residents last week. A gunman shot the driver to death, who accidentally struck and killed a toddler. The gunman also killed the toddler’s 15-year-old brother and eventually himself.

The Hillside Family Resource Center on Milwaukee’s near north side invited people to gather to talk about preventing gun violence. About 50 people attended, including retired Milwaukee police officer Gregory Moore. He calls the recent explosion of violence in the central city one of the worst beginnings to spring he’s ever witnessed. Moore implored residents to report suspicious activity to police.

“We have to stop tolerating a lot of things. The whole idea about no snitch, or snitches get stitches, that’s got to end. I grew up in Chicago where gangs were prevalent and things were happening but we took command of our community. We reported things to police. The police cannot do it without that kind of help,” Moore says.

Moore is now director of public safety for properties the Milwaukee Housing Authority oversees. Sherry Hampton is a Neighborhood Block Watch captain. She says she frequently calls police and tells neighbors to take a stand against crime.

“If I see you on my block, doing something, 911. Yes, it’s Ms. Hampton again and I have no problem with it. As long as we sit here, you’re going to have a killing,” Hampton says.

“On the block where I live, I’m helping them make changes and it’s changing, but every once in a while, the gunshots go, so how do we end gun violence?

Andre Ellis runs a mentoring program for young black men in the central city.

“We have to get rid of some of the people in office. We have to get rid of some of the officers who aren’t of the right mindset. We have to get rid of the situations where little kids are running their parent’s households and they’ve been dealt enough drugs that mama have to let the baby have a gun, otherwise the people coming in there will get everybody,” Ellis says.

The comments inspired Areshia Palmore. She says she plans to call police, the next time she notices trouble near her home.

“If you’re scared, call anonymous. They won’t know who they got the information from, they’ll just know they’ve got a lead,” Palmore says.

Yet the young man here today with Palmore says he does not plan to summon police, even though he’s lost three cousins to gun violence. He gives his name only as Boosie.

“I just don’t know how to approach the situation. I don’t talk to the police. They don’t help us out. I’m not telling anybody. It’s none of my business,” Boosie says.

At another event, residents of Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood gathered to pray and call for people to put down their guns. Organizers also promoted the hashtag # putthegunsdownmilwaukee, on social media.

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