Victory Over Violence: People in Decatur say it’s time to put the gun downs

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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) – Another teenager has been shot in Decatur. That’s the third teen shot in the city in just under 48 hours.

Six people were in a car driving on the Garfield overpass Monday night.

Police said people in another car opened fire and a 17-year-old was seriously hurt. 2 other people were also shot.

It’s news people in Central Illinois keep hearing about.

“Honestly, I wasn’t surprised. I was disappointed, but we had a shooting a couple of days ago, which is usually followed by another shooting,” Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe said.

Shemuel Sanders lost his daughter to gun violence last year. Decatur’s most recent shooting happened in the same area.

“Last year, I lost my daughter to gun violence, and this one here was on the same street actually over the overpass of Garfield. My daughter was shot and killed under the pass of Garfield. So, this is really affecting me,” Sanders said.

He said he knows how the families are feeling, and he knows many shootings are retaliatory. Sanders said when his daughter was killed, he felt that same anger, but he said going out and getting revenge is not the answer.

“We gotta figure out how to embrace those that is going through it, before it happens,” he said. “We have to figure out how to embrace those and let them know that you don’t have to do this.”

Mayor Wolfe said there is no magic answer to what’s happening.

“They’re shooting somewhat randomly. We had a child who was shot inside a home by a stray bullet, and what are we supposed to do with that”

Sanders said it’s never too late to make a change.

“You are hurting everybody, and I pray you put them guns down before it’s too late. While you got breath in your body, let’s turn it around,” he said.

David Horn is on the Decatur city council. He said he believes getting more security cameras in neighborhoods can help.

Horn called gun violence an epidemic. He said Decatur has had 132 reported shootings through August of this year. He said that’s the more shootings than any other year in the last 5 years.

They all said they know people have information, but are afraid to say anything for fear of retaliation.

Horn said cameras can help find people committing the crimes, and still keep the neighborhoods safe.

Two 17-year-olds were shot in the head in a car on East Walnut Street on Sunday. One of them died.

The Sangamon County coroner announced her name is Demeshiona Miller-Fonville

In the meantime, police are still looking for a suspect. They say Bryan McGee is still on the run. He is considered armed and dangerous.

Four other suspects have been arrested. Quantarius Beasley and Drelyn O’Neal are both charged with murder and murder with intent to kill.

Celeste Bowman is charged with murder, murder with intent to kill, and obstruction of justice.

The fourth person in custody is a 16 year old. Police will not release their name.

Sanders has started an outreach program dedicated to his daughter. It’s called the Shemilah Outreach Center. He said it’s a way to help kids learn how to landscape and work with their hands while also getting them off the streets and away from the violence.

If you want to volunteer or donate to the center, you can call Sanders at 217-519-8994.

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