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Community continues to seek solutions for violence in Columbus

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 1:33 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Columbus community continues to look for solutions after a violent year so far. The most recent killing happened on Bismark Dr. overnight Monday where authorities say 17-year-old Carson Skinner was shot and killed.

Another young life has been taken by violence is something Tanya Weaver and Shamekia Averrett know the pain of all too well.

“I’m grieving for his family, hurting for his family because I know what they’re going to go through. I just hope they find a constructive way to get through it. Anytime you lose a child, your life changes completely,” said Shameika Averette who lost her daughter, brother and mother in the 2016 Upatoi triple murder.

“Every time I hear of someone being murdered in Columbus it saddens me. I don’t so much get the agony that I used to in the beginning, but I definitely get the sadness and I definitely get that empty pit in the middle of my stomach,” said Tanya Weaver, the mother of Dontrell Williams who was shot and killed in 2019.

Cure Violence Columbus, a crime prevention initiative, is currently gathering data on local violence from the police department, sheriff’s office and hospitals. The two to three month assessment began in May and aims to find the key areas where violence is happening and who is involved. So far, Reggie Luther with Cure Violence Columbus says a lot of these crimes are happening in the southside near the Cusseta Rd. and Victory drive area.

“This year, we saw a lot dealing with domestic violence especially with some of the homicides we saw with ex-boyfriends and friends. We’re still seeing that young age group being involved in it; that 14 to 25 age group. We do have some that are in their 30s, but that’s what we’re seeing from our preliminary,” said Lewis.

With school out for the summer, Lewis says trying to keep kids busy is very important. Columbus is heading into the summer months with more than two dozen homicides so far in 2021.

“There has been an ongoing increase since 2009 so it’s not new. We are just hitting the peak of it and I think people need to take a little bit step back and start recognizing if you see your kid’s attitude change, try to really find out why,” Lewis explained.

Lewis says he thinks we will start seeing the necessary action for Columbus to change when people stop blaming each other for the violence and start taking responsibility.

Once Cure Violence Columbus takes the results of the data they’ve collected to the community, they’ll go to the targeted areas and then start working on an action plan.

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