PITTSBURGH — The first was Monday at Brookline, the second Tuesday at Mt. Oliver, with each seeking a solution to the violence. Tuesday’s meeting hosted by the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace tapped into some potential solutions, including community responsibility, common sense gun laws and tackling drug addiction on our streets.
The Rev. Eileen Smith, executive director of the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace (SPCP) began Tuesday night’s community meeting by reading some recent and tragic statistics plaguing South Pittsburgh communities.
“On March 30, a 29-year-old black male was fatally shot in Brookline,” Smith said.
Continuing, she shared that last week in South Pittsburgh, Devonte White, 29, was killed in Brookline, Micah Stoner, 23, was killed in Mt. Washington, and Michael Flaherty, 48, was killed in Carrick.
Smith also listed two other shootings over the past week that did not result in homicides.
According to police data, this year alone there have been 19 homicides in the city of Pittsburgh, including seven of these murders taking place in a south Pittsburgh neighborhood.
“These shootings affect the whole community,” Smith said.
At the evening meeting, the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace called on its elected officials, the mayor, police and neighbors to end the violence.
“[We’ve raised] half a million dollars is not enough, our state government needs to make meaningful investments, and that’s what I fight for every day,” said State Rep. Jessica Benham.
The mayor and police chief believe meaningful solutions could occur as more people speak out about the violence and share what they know.
“At present […] we have more people coming forward to talk about what’s going on than ever before,” Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said.
Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert went on to share that more arrests are being made in these homicides as well.
“My detectives had made an arrest in 4 of these Area 3 homicides,” Schubert said.
Organizers have urged the community to work as hard as the police to stop the violence before it happens.
This Friday, April 8, the coalition will hold a prayer vigil for peace at 6 p.m. at 438 Ormsby Avenue in Pittsburgh.
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