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Families of crime victims, religious leaders, law enforcement join to find gun violence solutions

Some of the ideas included making the youth point system statewide instead of county wide and making it harder for young people to get their hands on guns.

MORROW, Ga. — The families of crime victims, religious leaders, and Voices of Black Mothers United came together Wednesday with local law enforcement to try to find solutions for violence. 

Some of the ideas included making the youth point system statewide instead of county wide. Police said many young people commit crimes in different counties so the points don't accumulate in just one county against them. 

People from all walks of life came to the Victory in Our Communities event at the Morrow Center. One of them was Pastor L.C. Wheat.

“My nephew, he was the life of the party. His name was Caine Rogers. He was an awesome young man. He had great dreams, great ambitions," Wheat said.

Those ambitions were cut short in 2016 along Monroe Drive in Midtown Atlanta. Atlanta Police Ofc. James Burns shot and killed Rogers after mistaking his involvement in a suspicious person's call. Burns has been charged with murder in Rogers' death. The trial has not yet started.

“I still live that every day because I had to do the funeral, so now when I look at all the young people dying at a rapid pace, it's heartbreaking," Wheat added. 

Rogers lost his life at just 22 years old. The focus of the event his uncle went to was trying ways to reduce gun violence. 

“I think the best solution is to do what we’re working towards, and that’s to bring positive policing together with the community, together with our faith leaders, together with business owners," said Rhonda Knight, with the Georgia chapter of Voices of Black Mothers United.

Morrow Police Department Lt. Matthew Beaver believes another solution is keeping guns out of the hands of young people. 

“Kids are breaking into cars. People leave their guns in cars. They go walking through parking lots. They start pulling door handles, or they won’t even pull door handles. They’ll look in a car and see a gun right there in the center console," Beaver said.

“We’ve got to teach the young men, we love you. It’s not a Black or a white thing. It’s a we thing. We have to come together and love one another," Wheat said. 

Wheat started a non-profit in his nephew's honor called Operation P.U.S.H. Too. That organization is hosting a 'Jam for Peace' along with Rebuilding the Village, Wigo, and the City of Forest Park. It will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 6 and will include kids' activities, a job fair, car show, poetry, dancing, music, and raffle prizes. 

For more information, contact Pastor Wheat at (404) 952-9623 or operationpushtoo@gmail.com.

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