Volunteers taking action as incidents involving children and gun - KMOV.com

Volunteers taking action as incidents involving children and guns rise

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A disturbing rash of gun-related incidents have been a trend in September because so many of them involve firearms in the hands of children (Credit: KMOV). A disturbing rash of gun-related incidents have been a trend in September because so many of them involve firearms in the hands of children (Credit: KMOV).

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A disturbing rash of gun-related incidents have been a trend in September because so many of them involve firearms in the hands of children.

Friday September 9, Steven White, 71, was robbed and killed in Jennings. Police say two 14-year-olds and a 16-year-old were arrested in connection to White’s murder.

The next day, a 5-year-old was shot in the torso in the 2800 block of Stoddard, near downtown. Police say a 4-year-old had possession of the gun.

On September 20, a loaded gun was found in the backpack of a 12-year old boy in Jennings. Police say the boy was seen flourishing it.

“I’ve seen so much of kids running around with guns,” said Christian Johnson, former St. Louis City officer. “I don't think we should blame the children, for doing criminal activities. We should just help them. It takes a community to raise a child."

Johnson was an officer for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for three years. He stepped away from the force to be the full-time director for Serving with the Badge, a volunteer organization he created to mobilize and strengthen kids.

Chief Sam Dotson says he also sees too many young people getting guns and becoming more brazen while taunting and glorifying them.

“Kids have the ability to get guns. We see it, they break into cars and steal them,” said Dotson. “We have to be serious about making sure it's more difficult for young people to get guns and when we find young people with guns, we have to point them in the direction that keeps them from turning to violence.”        

Johnson says he would like to see the city provide more funding for community centers. He says parents are working around the clock to make ends meet while their kids are roaming the streets, so the community needs to provide tools to parents.

“We're not going to just blame this particular group for gun violence, but us as a city have the responsibility,” said Johnson. 

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