Search for solutions after rash of violence

- Another father was shot in an Orlando neighborhood.  It happened along Fanfair Avenue around 8 a.m. on Tuesday, as children were walking to an elementary school, less than a half-mile away.

"I heard gunshots. I was just thinking it was just kids playing with firecrackers," said one witness.  "I'm looking, and I saw somebody lying on the ground.”

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the victim sustained non-life threatening injuries and is expected to be ok.

This is just the latest in a growing number of shootings.  Less than two days ago, Jeffery Webb, a 47-year-old father, was killed and four others were injured in a shooting outside a convenience store in Pine Hills.  Last week, an innocent mother, 27-year-old Kendra Lewis, died after she was shot in front of a child at a Pine Hills gas station, and two weeks ago, 23-year-old Richard Burgos was shot and killed in Downtown Orlando.

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill said she has had it with the violence. She told fellow commissioners on Monday that real action is needed. 

Hill is calling for things like a late evening curfew for kids under 18, as well as metal detectors in community centers.  She stressed that real involvement with the community is key.   On Tuesday, we walked the streets with Commissioner Hill, as she met with constiuents.

"Right now, we have a rash of murders in the city.  Actually, it’s in your age group," Hill said to 21-year-old Rashad Howard, as they stood outside his home. 

"I just lost my [friend] 'Bald Head,' two days ago over in Pine Hills," he explained.

Hill asked, “That was your friend that got killed over at the 7-Eleven?"

“Yeah, yeah," Howard replied

Howard said he got in trouble at age 18, but he turned his life around when someone gave him a chance.

"Somebody finally blessed me with a job. That’s what got me on the right track. You’ve got to work to eat," Howard explained. "You gotta do something.”

Hill asked Howard, "If this guy wouldn’t have given you a job, you’d probably be back there in the streets, probably with a gun in your hand?"

Howard said, “I’d probably be dead right now. I ain’t even ‘gone lie. I probably would.”

Hill found support on the streets for her curfew idea.

"The curfew is not just to keep the kids off the streets. The curfew is when I see one of those kids, or we give the kid a citation and that parent has to come to court with that kid, it’s to be able to assess that whole household," Hill said.  "We catch them now and treat them holistically -- getting them back in school, give them a hug, tell them they’re valuable, tell them they’re beautiful, tell the young men it’s not too late!”

Chief Mina said there are heavy patrols in areas affected by violence and hundreds of guns have been taken off city streets, but he added that they also need the community's help.

"What we need from the community is if we see something, say something," Chief Mina explained.

It’s a chance to hit the streets, take the pulse of the people, and get to the roots of the violence with adults and teens.

"We owe them," Hill explained. "They don’t owe us. We owe them.”

Hill said her office is in the process of gathering repeat offenders to talk to them about what lead them down the wrong path so others don't go the same way.

Hill also said she's gathering real people to participate in what she calls a "listening tour" to go around to neighborhoods and talk to people about creating real ways to stop the violence.  She said she hopes to start the tours soon.

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