Rash of violence continues in Milwaukee as city, police department and community search for answers
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The violence continues in Milwaukee with at least two more shootings Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 14. One of those shootings was fatal after a 30-year-old man was shot and killed near North Avenue and Vel R. Phillips Ave.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says the recent violence is forcing the city and police department to specifically try to address the gun violence. But anti-violence specialists on the ground say there will not be a quick fix.
Mayor Barrett says, "We deliberately sat down with the police this morning [Tuesday] to figure out exactly what we can be doing."
But later Tuesday, North Avenue was shut down in both directions for Milwaukee's most recent homicide. The death toll continues to rise as the city's violent summer spills into the fall.
Acting Police Chief Jeffrey Norman says, "This is something that's a continuing trend. Juvenile violence, mass violence, is unacceptable on different type of levels."
Violence prevention specialists say they need more resources to expand programs, and while many are working, a long-term fix will take time. Jamaal Smith is the city's violence prevention manager. He says, "This is not something that's going to be solved overnight. We wish we could. If it could, we would have done that."
And the number of children impacted is soaring. This week a 16-year-old was shot and killed, the 19th homicide of a child 17 or younger this year. The director of the violence prevention program 414LIFE says it's forcing adults to be what he calls "sensitively explicit" with young children. Derrick Rogers says, "Because you're talking about young people who hear gunshots on their block, in their neighborhood, then have to literally sometimes teach and train them to hit the floor."
Princeton Epps says he grew up that way until it became normal to see his friends killed. Now he's trying to impact kids before they choose to be violent. "They seem like they feel you, but I don't know if it's enough of an influence when they get around their friends."
Rogers says too many children have to learn violence is not intrinsic. "It's become normalized to the point where one of the first things that they attempt to utilize to deal with it is further violence."
Jamaal Smith says he has faith things will improve. He says the city has been here before, and he has faith in the people of Milwaukee who are working toward violence prevention.