‘Trauma affects us all’: Stakeholders, Philly Police Commissioner discuss gun violence and resources
SPRING GARDEN - Nearly every day, lives are cut short and families are shattered by gun violence in Philadelphia.
In 2022, more than 500 Philadelphians died because of guns and nearly 1,800 were victims of shootings.
City leaders came together Thursday night to tackle the crisis and the overall message is police and community leaders are working together to prevent gun violence and resources are available for survivors.
Oronde McClain was just 10 when he was shot in the back of the head. "I did for two minutes and 17 seconds and I was in a coma for several weeks."
Over 20 years later, he still deals with the lasting effects of his injuries and hopes it makes others think twice before pulling the trigger.
"Them sneakers that you like to put on, well, I can’t put on. Somebody has to help me put it on. Them haircuts that you like, I can’t get haircuts like you, because it hurts. I get headaches," McClain explained.
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Lynnette Ellis says her family is still grieving after losing her 37-year-old cousin to gun violence last May. "Just to be shot down like that was a tremendous weight on the family."
As a Parent Education Supervisor, Ellis says resources are available for families at the Jewish Family and Children’s Service.
"How trauma affects us all as a community and ways we engage our children, so that they will come to us if they’re in the midst of some conflict and seek support and how we can come together as a community," Ellis said.
Philadelphia Police did announce the arrest of Edwin Vargas for the quadruple shooting in Mayfair January 9th. Investigators believe he’s linked to another deadly shooting in Hunting Park.
Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says police are focusing on the small percentage of people driving the large percentage of crime.
"It would make such a big dent in the crime that we’re seeing because it not only serves as a deterrent, it sends a message to people that we’re serious about bringing those responsible to justice," Commissioner Outlaw said. "It also ensures that the community feels safe knowing that these most dangerous of the dangerous are off the streets."
Organizations like the McClain Foundation and JFCS say they’re ready to help and provide support.
"This is something we care deeply about and we’re talking to kids about on a daily basis," Paula Goldstein, President and CEO of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, said.
Click here to find resources for victims of violence in Philadelphia.