‘Families are fearing that their kids can’t go out and play’: WS City Council member outlines concerns from community after shootings

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Gun violence involving juveniles continues to be a tough-to-tackle issue across the United States. Unfortunately, the Triad is no exception to that.

On Wednesday afternoon, police responded to the 2600 block of Cleveland Avenue regarding a teenager who had been shot. They found Decarius Williams, 15, dead on the sidewalk.

Just a few hours later along Forest Hill Avenue, a 9-year-old was shot after an argument between two adults turned violent.

Police are actively working these cases, but the death of Williams brings the total number of juvenile homicides in the city to four in 2020.

On Thursday, City Councilwoman Morticia Parmon walked the streets near Cleveland Avenue. She not only represents the Northeast Ward, but also grew up in the nearby neighborhood.

She said it has changed too much over the years.

“Families are fearing that their kids can’t go out and play. They can’t just have the normal childhood,” she said.

She was on scene Wednesday after Williams had been shot, and said scenes like that have become too common for her, police, and those who live in low-income areas of the city.

“When you come out and you see a baby that is been taken away from his mom and dad, that’s heartbreaking. Because I have children,” she said.

After every shooting in and around her ward, she explained that she talks with families of those victims, and those whose children have committed the violent acts.

“When I speak to the parents of children who have broken the law, whose child was the one who pulled the trigger, I go back and ask them — what can I do to better serve you,” she said.

A common request from parents is more community policing, more prayer, and more hope for their children.

Parmon explained that is something being worked on. However, if parents don’t become braver, the solution may not come.

“We have got to hold ourselves accountable for the actions going on in these communities. It’s going to take the communities to say enough is enough. We are not going to tolerate this. We will not funeralize another child. You will not take another baby from their parents,” she said.

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