‘State of Crisis’ Faith Leaders Push for More Response to Violence

After another weekend of shootings that left four victims injured by gunfire, one seriously, faith leaders in the city called for more emergency aid.

“The city has absolutely failed to heed our requests to involve them in working together on a strategic plan to reduce violence in black neighborhoods,” Rev. Kevin Peterson, founder of the New Democracy Coalition, told the Herald Sunday.

“We are disappointed that the city does not view the loss of life in black communities as a moment of crisis. We continue to urge Commissioner Cox to meet with residents in the city’s most affected areas so that a process of joint planning can begin.”

Peterson last week called on city leaders to declare a “state of emergency” after three victims were killed in multiple shootings.

Responding to Peterson’s comments Sunday, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said, “We are coordinating all resources from law enforcement, outreach and community partners to target interventions and get guns off the streets. We will continue to focus on violence prevention with the full weight of all city services and community partnerships.”

Suffolk DA Kevin Hayden said in a statement on Sunday: “This recent spate of shootings is tragic, frightening and leaves us all with heavy hearts. Our communities must remain strong, and I commend many for their passionate and cooperative response. of illegal weapons fuels this devastating violence.”

Four people were shot in Dorchester on Saturday night and Sunday morning in two shootings – one with life-threatening injuries.

Just before 6 a.m. Sunday morning, police responded to a call to 274 Hancock St., where three gunshot wounded victims were found at the scene.

Two adults, a man and a woman, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to BPD. Another adult man was found in critical condition. All were taken to local hospitals.

Another shooting happened just before 10:30 p.m. Saturday night at 33 Erie St. The lone victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries, BPD said.

Both incidents are under ongoing investigation, the department said, and no arrests have been made.

The shootings join a long list of recent incidents that have upset the community.

Three people were shot and killed in Dorchester and Mattapan last weekend. The following Wednesday, a fourth man was killed in a shooting at a Washington St.

On Thursday, a 7-year-old brought a loaded gun to Up Academy Holland School in Dorchester, and on Friday, an 18-year-old with a gun on campus sent Excel High School in South Boston into “safe mode.” ”

Following the violence, local faith leaders independently declared a state of emergency for the communities of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan on Friday and called on the city to issue an official statement as well.

The call follows a statement by the city council that gun violence had become a “public health emergency” earlier in October.

“(A Declaration of Emergency) will not only foster a new awareness among residents in these neighborhoods that their lives matter, but will enable us collectively to turn toward new ways of investing services and care in these areas. troubled communities,” Peterson said in an open letter to Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox.

The statement, Peterson wrote, could increase police presence in the area and elicit more trauma response.

The mayor held a community meeting on gun violence with city, political and community leaders at the Greater Love Tabernacle Church on Tuesday. The problem with the meeting, Peterson said, was the lack of an immediate “observable public safety strategy.”

Reverend Eugene Rivers III said that if this violence affected white people in areas such as Roslindale or Back Bay, city officials “undoubtedly” would have a commensurate response.

“But because the victims are black and poor, it’s not called a crisis,” Rivers said.

Cox has previously stated that the number of shootings in the city has fallen so far this year, a trend of recent years. Despite the overall decline, he noted Tuesday, there has been a worrying increase in shootings involving minors.

BPD crime statistics released Tuesday also show a slight increase in the number of fatal shootings in the city from last year.

Behind the violent incidents is a “deeper threat,” Rivers warned, namely the “underreported” presence of increasingly dangerous weapons in the hands of young men in these neighborhoods.

“The rise of large assault weapons in these neighborhoods is terrifying,” Rivers said. “It’s an emergency. There’s no doubt about it.”

Boston police at the crime scene at 274 Hancock Street in Dorchester after two people were there early Sunday morning, Sunday, October 23, 2022, in Boston.  (Photo by Jim Michaud/ Boston Herald)Boston police at the crime scene at 274 Hancock Street in Dorchester after two people were there early Sunday morning, Sunday, October 23, 2022, in Boston. (Photo by Jim Michaud/ Boston Herald)BOSTON, MA.  October 30 Erie Street in Dorchester, where a man was shot and killed on Sunday morning, Sunday, October 23, 2022, in Boston.  (Photo by Jim Michaud/ Boston Herald)BOSTON, MA. October 30 Erie Street in Dorchester, where a man was shot and killed on Sunday morning, Sunday, October 23, 2022, in Boston. (Photo by Jim Michaud/ Boston Herald)

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