ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has been cracking down on gang violence.
Investigators said they made about 150 gang-related arrests between August and October of last year. They also seized more than 100 guns.
Community activists, like Bishop Kelvin Cobaris of the Impact Church, said more needs to be done to solve these cases.
"The reality is if the community does not participate by informing law enforcement or Crimeline and letting them know what they know, you don’t lead to any arrests or any justice to situations like this," Cobaris said.
There are several unsolved gang-related homicides in Orange County, two of which happened six months ago.
Joshua Atkinson, 14, was killed near a home in Pine Hills in September. Less than 24 hours later and only a few miles away, Daquane Felix, was also murdered during a drive-by shooting. He was just three years old.
Following those tragic deaths, deputies formed a task force with the FBI to address gang violence. The amount of gang-related homicides is down since then, but investigators said there have been very few tips made in either case.
"It broke my heart, because I’m a father," Cobaris said. "I’m a father of a 6-year-old and you can imagine the grief. However, what grieves me more is to know that it has been six months and there have been no leads. There have been no arrests and the community is quiet."
Orlando Pastor Stovelleo Stovall is also a long-time gun violence activist.
"Orlando is growing tremendously, and at the same time, crime and this gun violence and this gang-related stuff is growing tremendously," he said.
Last year, his daughter was shot and killed in Apopka. Her murder has yet to be solved.
He wants to see a change in the community.
"That’s my mission," Stovall said. "I just want to stop this killing, these senseless deaths in our city. We got to take back our city. We got to take back our grandparents, our neighborhoods and we’ve got to live in peace."
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings formed a citizen’s task force made up of community members. They’ve worked over the last three months to come up with ways to stop the violence. Cobaris is a member.
"All of the minds at the table - prosecution, law enforcement, intervention, and prevention -- minds are collectively putting together recommendations to give back to the mayor that we believe will help reduce crime and redirect our young people in a right path."
The task force will have its last meeting Wednesday at 2 p.m. It will present its recommendations on how to stop gang violence in the community to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.
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