Covington leaders seek solutions to youth gun violence

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COVINGTON, Ky. — More than two dozen community members gathered in Covington Thursday night, all asking one question: “Are we doing enough?”

Video of a fight that turned into a shootout that left three children hospitalized shocked the community, but it was a teenager’s statement after the violence that broke hearts. In an interview with WCPO, a girl who witnessed the shooting spoke of a teenage fighting culture in the city.

“You gotta know how to fight living in Covington, and if you don’t know how to fight, you better go get a gun. And that’s what everyone did,” she said. “We’re too young to do that, but that’s what everyone thinks is good now.”

NAACP North Kentucky Branch member Crystal Madaris said she was saddened to hear the teenager’s outlook.

“It’s completely foreign to me,” Madaris said. “And to think now…their response is to get a gun, that’s a different world than where I come from.”

Jeremy Bowles, branch president, said the shooting was a wake-up call. The organization organized a meeting with pastors, cops, civic leaders and activists in hopes of finding an answer to the increase in youth violence.

“We need to work together as community partners to develop innovative strategies to help reduce violence in our communities,” Bowles said.

The group discussed concerns and possible solutions. Although no children were involved in the conversation, they raised the possibility of holding a panel at local schools to get their opinion.

“I hope we can find a solution that we will hold on to and participate in because we definitely need a solution here,” Madaris said.

The leaders plan to meet again in three weeks.

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