Area pastors challenge themselves to eradicate gun violence

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Savannah Alliance of Pastors gathered in Ellis Square Tuesday to talk about homicides and gun violence.

This comes as the city deals with 33 homicides so far in 2017.

For years, Savannah has seen a rise in homicides and gun violence. That number has started to decline slightly, but people in the area are still concerned about the violence. Within the last month, there have been at least a dozen shootings in Savannah.

One of the most recent homicides includes a fatal shooting outside a McDonald's on Savannah's Southside. This happened back in October and resulted in the death of 15-year-old George Akins, Jr. Police believe an argument led up to the shooting.

Then just last week, a 12-year-old boy was shot near Church and Delyon streets. Police say a man was shooting at a car and someone in that car returned fire. The 12-year-old was walking in the area with a 3-year-old child when they got caught in the crossfire.

The killings and violent behavior have not gone unnoticed. The Savannah Alliance of Pastors is stepping up to try and take back the city, so to speak. They say their goal is to eradicate homicides and gun violence and spread a message of love and hope.

"The Savannah Alliance of Pastors have been meeting for about a month regarding homicides and gun violence in our city." Da'Henri Thurmond, Sr., Pastor, St. Paul CME Church.

At the gathering was Sarah Brown, a member of the ministerial staff at St. Paul. Brown's granddaughter, Brittani Brown, was murdered back in June.

"Not only did I lose my granddaughter, but so many other mothers and fathers and grandparents have lost their children to violence... unnecessary violence."

Brown added, "No matter what it looks like, and no matter what it seems like...we still have control. Because we trust and we believe in a God that will deliver us and will deliver our children."

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach said community and faith-based initiatives like this are a valuable component to fight crime, especially when it comes to pointing those wanting out of a life of crime toward social services and other opportunities.

"It's a community thing, and that's why I think it's so important that these pastors are out here. Everybody can realize that this is a community thing. It's not a government thing or, you're out there by yourself. We're all in it together and we want to participate together," said Mayor DeLoach.

The Alliance challenged other members of the faith community to join them next Tuesday, November 21 at 4 p.m. at the Coastal Transitional Center on Stiles Avenue. The group will discuss ways to eradicate homicides and senseless gun violence in Savannah.

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