ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- People gathered outside St. Louis City Hall Monday night to rally on the community to stop the killings of St. Louis youth following a deadly weekend.
This summer, 12 children under the age of 17 have been murdered in St. Louis.
“We’re tired of seeing our babies get killed,” said Travis “Thi’sl” Tyler, a local rapper and community mentor. “We’re tired of seeing our young men get killed, we’re tired of seeing our women get killed.”
Thi’sl said the community needs a more direct approach, a group of people that are willing to speak to the St. Louis youth and spread awareness.
“At this point we’ve done marches we’ve done talking. We want to be able to do some tangible things,” Thi’sl said. “Bring together a comprehensive group of resources that will be able to go into our community.”
The St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden said his department is adding six new homicide detectives following the recent increase in gun violence.
“Our homicide detectives over the years are used to handling more than the national average but I thought it was very important right now that we’re experiencing an increase in homicide to make an immediate change with some folks that have really good reputations,” Hayden said.
In St. Louis City, Hayden said, at least 50 percent of homicides are connected to drugs, 35 percent start with personal disputes and 15 percent in domestic disputes. He said the kids getting fatally shot are innocent and an aftermath.
“The kids 10 and under, and we’ve had six this year … certainly absolutely didn’t do anything wrong,” Hayden said. “They weren't settling some drug vendetta, they weren't having some personal dispute with anybody. But at the end of the day the people in and around them … were.”
Hayden said there have been 134 homicides this year and 186 homicides in 2018.
“We’re 15 homicides above this time last year but we’re right even with 2017 so what you’re really looking at is a three year trend that St. Louis hasn’t been able to get out of this conversation of violent crime,” Hayden said. “It didn't just start this year we had some successes last year but we’re really fighting a culture.”
Missouri Governor Mike Parson sent this statement to News 4, saying an immediate special session isn't what's needed to solve gun violence around the state:
"It’s sad to see any innocent person, let alone a child, become a victim of violence. Our communities and our children deserve better. As Governor and a former sheriff, protecting the citizens of our state is of the utmost importance. We have a serious problem with violent crime in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield, and we are dedicated to partnering with communities to find meaningful solutions. If we are to change violent criminal acts in Missouri, it will take all of us at the federal, state, local, and community levels working together toward that common goal."
Thi'sl said it's going to take people in the community to get the city out of this crisis.
“The resources and the money and the things that produce change never make it to the lowest level where they need to reach,” Thi’sl said. “That's where people like us come in where we can bridge the gap so we can reach the young person who feels he has no hope or has nothing to lose by shooting up a football game or killing a child, he can begin to see there is hope for me”