By Jared D. Childress | OBSERVER Staff Writer
Sacramento’s June was deadly with 10 homicides under investigation in a month’s time – and July is off to a tragic start. A 10-year-old girl was shot the night of July 1 and received emergency medical care for a non-life-threatening bullet wound.
And if community advocate Greg King were to come face to face with a perpetrator of this violence, he’d start with prayer.
“I would ask God to give me the words to say,” King said. “We can’t let our community go astray and not address it.”
King has joined leaders from historically Black churches and other community organizations to launch the “enough is enough, silence the violence,” rally at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at three different locations: Oak Park at 12th Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, in Del Paso Heights on Grand Avenue and Marysville Boulevard, and in Valley Hi on Center Parkway and Mack Road.
June homicides under investigation in the city include a June 9 shooting that left one dead; a June 12 shooting that left two dead; a shooting on the night of June 13 that left two dead; a shooting the evening of June 14 that left one dead and, hours later on June 15, a shooting that left one dead; an altercation the morning of June 16 that left one dead; and a shooting the morning of June 20 that left one dead, the Sacramento Police Department reports.
June homicides under investigation in the county include a shooting on the morning of June 1 that left one dead; a shooting the morning of June 21 that left one dead; and a shooting later that day left one dead, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.
A planning meeting June 29 at Trinity Baptist Church was attended by 12 community members from Trinity Baptist, Shiloh Baptist Church, St. Paul Church of Sacramento, South Sacramento Christian Center, Pearly Gate Missionary Baptist Church, Capital City Fury Football team and Sacramento Charter High School.
Les Simmons, pastor of South Sacramento Christian Center, said these issues affect his congregation. “This violence has impacted our church,” he said, explaining that one of the victims was a relative of a church employee.
Pastor Anthony Sadler of Shiloh Baptist Church officiated the funeral of Billy Ray Scott III, a Grant High School student fatally shot May 31.
“The thing that’s specific to each community are the resources connected to that community,” Sadler said. “We’ve all suffered from the violence and unfortunately no community is separated from that.”
The organizers are calling the alarming trend “community violence,” as perpetrators come from no sole demographic. Gregory Jefferson, of St. Paul, named an incident involving relatives and another involving a couple.
“The messaging has to target violence in general,” Jefferson said. He added that several factors can play into the violence, such as finances. “We just don’t want violence to be the solution to whatever issues come up between individuals,” he said.
Pepper Von, co-owner of Step 1 Dance and Fitness and member of Unity of Sacramento, said that the solution will be a long-term effort.
“That doesn’t mean a [bandage], it means healing,” said Von, explaining how faith helps him respond to life in a healthy manner. “If we don’t heal ourselves we’re going to keep turning that anguish towards each other.”
King stressed that it will be a community effort to arrest the violence. For more information or to get involved, contact King at 916-470-2077.
“This is in regards to the increase of violent crimes throughout our city – not just in one neighborhood,” King said. “Regardless of the neighborhood where it happens, it affects us all.”