Springfield violence: ‘We need to come together as a community and stop this’

The NAACP will host a meeting Thursday evening that will allow city residents to address leaders about the ongoing violence in Springfield.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. and take place at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 34 W Pleasant St., Springfield. The name of the meeting is “Stop the violence … enough is enough.”

MORE: Families of Springfield homicide victims want violence to stop

The meeting is open to the public.

NAACP Springfield President Denise Williams said the amount of violent crime is unacceptable.

“We need to find out from our emergency responders, our police, our sheriff, our county commission and our city commission what’s the deal,” Williams said. “What are the plans and why is this all happening.”

Springfield had seen a spike of homicides at the beginning of the year. The last recorded homicide in the city was July 20. However, the city has seen a number of shootings since then, including four between Aug. 24 and 27.

“I want to know what the community can do to stop all these killings,” Williams said.

EXTRA: Victim shot, killed in Springfield identified; death ruled homicide

Williams said she believes there is still a mistrust between the community and police which is why witnesses of violent crimes don’t come forward. She hopes the meeting will be a step in the right direction.

“We need to come together as a community and stop this,” she said.

Williams said she has invited a number of city and county officials to the meeting including Springfield Police Chief Lee Graff, city and county commissioners and Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson.

Wilson said he will be there.

“Our office has been working closely with the Police Division’s safe streets task force this summer targeting offenders who are engaged in gun violence,” Wilson said. “We have also been working closely with the US Attorney’s Office to address the issue of gun violence. We currently have 2 of our Clark County Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys qualified as Special Assistant United States Attorneys who are able to take gun cases over to federal court. These Assistants screen gun cases brought in by our local authorities to see if they qualify to be filed in federal court. If they do then our prosecutors handle the case in federal court.”

Williams also encourages faith leaders in the city to attend the meeting. A prayer for the city and a stop to the violence will conclude the gathering, she said.

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