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Indiana News

South Bend officials, community leaders call for end to gun violence after 3 shootings in 1 week

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Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE
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South Bend officials and community leaders held a press conference Wednesday calling for an end to gun violence after three people were shot and killed in the city in the past week.

During the two-hour discussion, which was broadcast live on WUBS radio, county and city leaders said enough is enough and that it is time for action to prevent gun violence instead of more talk.

“We’re all trying to do the same thing, which is make our community safer,” St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said. “We have to collectively say that I’m done with allowing violence to occur.”

South Bend Mayor James Mueller said violent crime is up nationwide, but that “we don’t have to follow the trends from the rest of the nation.”

“This is a community that is close, and we need to figure this out together,” Mueller said. “The city cares from the top to the bottom, from the mayor to the beat officer on the street. We all want to be part of the solution, but we need others to join us as well.”

Isaac Hunt leads Goodwill’s Group Violence Intervention team.

“This has to stop — if you see something, you need to say something to save these families, y’all,” he said.

Multiple officials agreed, including South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski, and asked people to come forward with information about shootings.

“I am sick and tired of saying over and over again the same thing,” Ruszkowski said. “If you see something, and you say something, it works. Somebody said something, and we arrested one of our officers last night.”

But Hunt said there also needs to be more investment in West Side neighborhoods and more programming and outreach for young people.

“Our districts, first and second districts, need services — period,” Hunt said. “They need economic restorative justice, as they get in downtown South Bend.”

“Our neighborhoods are in disarray,” he added.

Mueller said the city’s 2022 budget contains historic investments in neighborhood infrastructure and pre-K funding.

Common Council members Karen White, Troy Warner, Henry Davis Jr., Rachel Tomas Morgan and Sheila McBride were also at the press conference.

White said losing three lives to gun violence in one week is “unacceptable,” and that she will be advocating to Mueller for resources to address the situation.

Those include additional streetlights, security cameras in strategic locations, trimming trees and cleaning up alleys and vacant lots.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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