Springfield pastors gather to stop the violence

Stop the violence town hall meeting in Springfield. (WDTN Photo/Jake Ryle)
Stop the violence town hall meeting in Springfield. (WDTN Photo/Jake Ryle)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — A Springfield community is banding together calling for peace after two young athletes were gunned down just weeks apart.

Twenty-one-year-old George Walker was shot and killed in May on Grand Avenue. Jeff Wellington was shot and killed Easter weekend while trying to break up a fight.

Many people say they’re fed up with the violence and want to see a change in the neighborhood. Local pastors gathered Saturday to talk strategies for peace.

Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland also joined the group of pastors for the effort. He says the crime and drugs in his city is alarming.

“Somehow we’ve got to find ways to reach our young people on the street and obviously some of them we have not reached very well,” said Copeland.

Pastor DeWitt Means Junior agrees. He says often many young teens fall into the wrong crowd and don’t have someone to turn to for help. He hopes that churches around Springfield will serve as safe havens for kids.

“We find that in this generation we have. There’s a disconnect and unfortunately they’re losing their lives as a result of this,” said Means.

Despite the reality, leaders are hopeful that Springfield will turn around and that the violence won’t take anymore young lives that are full of promise.

Organizers hope with more community involvement, Springfield can become more united and decrease the violence.

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