City, community leaders meet to discuss gun violence

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — City and community leaders met Tuesday night to address a rise in gun violence in Champaign.

Officials reported in 2020, there were 189 confirmed shooting incidents, up from 100 in 2019. There were 57 shooting victims in 2020, compared to 34 in 2019. There were 9 gun-related homicides in 2020, up from 2 in 2019.

The cities of Decatur, Peoria and Urbana also shared their shooting data with Champaign. All of them also saw an increase in shootings and shooting victims.

Tracy Parsons, the city’s Community Relations Manager, outlined some of the plans moving forward for combatting violence.

He plans to establish a Countywide Coordinating Committee with co-leader Jamar Brown. The group will be a volunteer-based committee.

Parsons also announced a resource fair called Summit of Hope is scheduled for March 24 to help ex-offenders re-enter the community.

Parsons also wants to focus on breaking the cycle of violence for kids and teens.

“Our youth that we meet with regularly through our Goal Getters and Self Made Kingz and other initiatives that we’re involved with are telling us that this way of life is becoming more and more difficult to deal with,” Parsons said. “I was told in a meeting with a group of students that ‘I’d rather be caught with my gun than without it.’ And what that means is they’d rather be caught by police or by us or the schools with it than caught on the streets without it. And that’s a sad, tragic predicament for young people to have to be making that decision.”

Leaders shared multiple videos from youth leaders in the community calling for an end to gun violence.

Parsons said the David C. Sankey Center should be ready to open this spring. The center, named after a 2018 shooting victim, will focus on mediation and intervention for young people in the community.

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