SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -The topic of gun violence and the toll it’s taking on Savannah families was mentioned at a pre-Council meeting on Wednesday where Mayor Van Johnson and City Manager Pat Monahan focused on some of Thursday’s agenda items.
The pre-meeting is new for current City leaders. They say it’s an effort to be more transparent with the community they serve. Mayor Johnson was at the scene where the first shooting victims turned up this past weekend, the parking lot of the Carey Hilliards on Abercorn Street. He also spoke to the family of the victim
Following the weekend violence that claimed two lives in two separate shooting incidents, Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter said his department was committing to redirecting personnel and technology to address the recent crime. SPD is also using patrol and other specialized units to increase their presence around Savannah.
“Chief Minter and the police department I think have been doing an excellent job, and I believe that there are some good leads, some good community leads," said Mayor Johnson. "And I think that they will be doing some good old fashioned police work. And we’re hoping to have these resolved. It does not clear what has happened, it certainly doesn’t bring the loved ones back. But we just know that gun violence does not work, and it will not be tolerated in our community.”
Mayor Johnson also said he believes the issue is there are too many people in the community with guns who should not have them.
“There are mothers who know their sons are carrying guns," said Mayor Johnson. "There are friends who know their sons are involved in those types of issues. There are good friends who know that this type of activity is going on. And my message has been, if you love your friend, if you love your son...tell them to give up the gun.”
Mayor Johnson said one avenue he's looking to go down again is a gun buy-back program, which he helped implement back in 2016.
That effort brought in around 30 firearms that Mayor Johnson said couldn’t be used to commit crime.