Community leaders hope for change after several days of gun violence

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Leaders in Vermilion County are asking everybody to join them in their effort against gun violence. The plea comes after six people were shot in less than three days. Community activists in the city are frustrated. They’ve put in a lot of time to try and stop gun violence, but it keeps happening.

“If we want Danville — if we want Vermilion County — to be the special place we think it is, it takes everyone to be involved and to make a difference,” said Second Church of Christ Lead Pastor Greg Taylor.

It’s a difference they’re more than ready for, after five different shootings, just since Sunday. Taylor said it’s discouraging. “It was incredibly heartbreaking to hear about the shootings that took place, especially coming off a successful, peaceful march.”

Concerned Citizens of Danville was created last year, after Domino’s driver Terri Gaines was killed after delivering a pizza. Organizers say they feel the crimes are committed by young people who need direction.

“These young kids don’t understand that, no matter what kind of trouble they’re in right now, if they’re selling drugs, if they’re gambling, if they’re doing drugs, there’s a way out,” said the founder of Concerned Citizens of Danville, Robert. “That’s somebody’s son, somebody’s daughter, and for five of them, in what less than 24 hours, 28 hours.”

But no matter who is behind the violence, they feel everyone should take a part in ending it.

“Being passive, being silent is never the answer. Going to social media and criticizing your community, in my opinion is never the answer, but rising up and saying, ‘How can we make a difference?’” explained Taylor.

Two people were seriously hurt in those five shootings. The other four had minor injuries. We talked to a family friend of the man who was shot Monday night. She said he is still in the hospital fighting.

We asked police if they are investigating the shootings as connected, but they say they aren’t sharing that right now. There have already been 30 shootings so far this year in Danville. Last year toward the end of the year, we reported 42 shootings. That was the highest number in more than five years.

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