RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Just a week into the New Year and police in Raleigh, Durham, and surrounding areas already have a number of shooting investigations on their hands.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear this news at the beginning of the year,” said Gerald Givens Jr., the president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP.
Late Thursday night, a 16-year-old was shot in Raleigh and later died from his injuries. Another juvenile was charged in that murder.
On New Year’s Day, a shooting involving two motorcycle clubs claimed the life of one man in Raleigh. Now five men are facing charges in that murder.
That same day in Durham, five people were shot at a shopping center in front of a Subway restaurant. Police are still searching for the person or people behind the trigger in that shooting.
Givens says enough is enough.
“It’s impacted us enough that we’re saying, ‘you know what, we want to be in this fight, and not only do we want to be in this fight, we want to lead’,” he said.
He says the new year is a time to focus on change and in this case, making Raleigh and surrounding cities safer.
“It’s going to take some work, we’re going to get some people trained, we’re going to set up a hospital violence intervention program,” Givens said.
To do that, the Raleigh-Apex NAACP is turning to other communities that have grappled with gun violence for years.
“I met with Bull City United this week just to learn a little bit about their program, what they’re doing, how they’re changing, learning the lessons,” Givens said.
Givens says while the number of shootings this early in the year is disappointing, he’s not letting it stop him from hoping for change.
“I’m actually optimistic because I know the people in our community, from the citizens to the clergy, to the businesses, to the elected officials and law enforcement, it’s an all-hands-on-deck approach that we’re going to be addressing gun violence in our community over the next few years,” he said.