Emergency meeting held to discuss recent gun violence in West Philadelphia

- An emergency meeting was held Tuesday night to discuss recent gun violence in West Philadelphia.

"We're here for one reason and one reason only. To save our children," said State Representative Joanna McClinton.

Residents packed a meeting organized at Anointed Tabernacle of Praise Church on South 60th Street to discuss how to effectively combat gun violence in their community.

"My son has one lung right now. He had to get two surgeries," said a mother whose sons were shot with a .22 walking home from school last January.

"I still can't get no justice for my kids," she said.

Rep. McClinton called the emergency meeting after three kids were shot Sunday night near one of her offices in West Philadelphia. Two teens, ages 15 and 16 were shot. The youngest victim was just 8 years old.

"This is one that really shook us a little bit. We had an 8-year old kid shot in the face. We always talk about it in law enforcement. Bullets have no names," said Lieutenant John Walker with Southwest Detectives.

State and local officials joined the panel, alongside police, to ask the community to be their eyes and ears on the ground.

“We need your help. We cannot solve these problems alone," said Chief Inspector Derrick Wood.

Some residents pointed to concerns over policing. Others highlighted the systemic issue of poverty.

"We don't need much. We have our community that helps this neighborhood but we do need about six to 10 cops because this is not people my age running around shooting people. These are little kids," said one man.

“We need to talk about where is the money, where's the economics," another resident said. "How can we feed our families, how can we raise our kids. How about supplying jobs for our kids?"

A woman with a daughter and three sons says the violence has her worried every day for her children.

"When my son's at a party. He's 21. I ask, 'Is he next?' My 16-year-old when he's on the way home from basketball, I say, 'Is he next?' say is he next?"

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