NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News community members said it would take more than just police to stop the violence.
Residents spoke their minds during a prayer vigil in Huntington Park Saturday to discuss solutions to stop gun violence and to create an open dialogue to fight crime.
“It’s very important for everyone to be at the table when you are talking about solutions,” Yugonda Sample-Jones said. “The answer is not going to come from the police department or the city. It’s going to take someone who is going to bring all of us together.”
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew joined the prayer vigil and listened to residents’ stories. He said that the community and the police have to work together.
“I heard some of the messages today and about going forward, it has to be a partnership. It can’t be us and them,” he said. “I’m telling you whether it is domestic violence or gun violence. It affects everyone. It affects the city. At the end of the day, we are all in this together.”
Eureka Powers, the founder of Krysany Foundation Inc., said it’s important to talk to the youth when it comes to violence.
Newport News has recently seen two shootings involving minors. In early October, a teen was killed outside his home on Walden Pond Ct. The following week a teen was shot multiple times in an apartment complex on Manor Road.
“Catch them while they are young. You know, they can have people that mentor them and do different things with them, so they don’t have to be in the streets,” Powers said.
Tyrone Banks grew up in Newport News and says there is violence like this in other cities, but it shouldn’t define Newport News.
“Newport bad News. You have to be careful what you speak of a region. I call it Newport great News,” Banks said.
As the event came to a close, community members prayed together and challenged each other to take action within the community to stop the violence.