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Community leaders looking to combat Cincinnati's youth gun violence after 5 shot in one week

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Posted at 11:32 PM, Feb 24, 2023

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati police are investigating after a 17-year-old Woodward student was shot near the school Thursday in Bond Hill. The shooting is the fifth time someone under the age of 18 has been shot in Cincinnati in less than a week.

Ennis Tait, pastor of New Beginnings Church and mentor to the student, said the teen is expected to make a full recovery. Still, the recent gun violence is having a very real impact on the kids in the community.

"One young man getting shot and it impacts 20, 30, 40 people at one time ... that's what you had yesterday," Tait said. "These young men were all impacted by what happened."

Tait mentors a group of about 18 teens. They were supposed to meet yesterday, but Tait then got word that one of the students in his group had been shot. He said yesterday was extremely heavy.

"The day before, the guys had gotten together to celebrate the life of one of their other friends who had been killed here in Avondale," he said. "So they were already down in their spirits, and then they have this issue and it really showed us how real it is."

Tait said there needs to be more places for teens to go where they can feel safe to combat youth violence.

"Unfortunately, when they act up and get kicked out of the library — they're kicked out of most public places when they act up, so there has to be a place where they can go where they can be themselves," he said.

Youth At The Center is an organization that aims to do just that — provide safe places for kids to go.

"What you feel, what you think, what you say, is important to us," co-founder Tynisha Worthy said. "Your voice matters. We are creating that safe and nurturing space for young people to be and also to grow and develop."

Worthy said the issue of youth gun violence in the city is deeper than what we see at the surface.

"I think we also think about poverty when you think about what's happening in schools, what's happening in our neighborhoods," she said.

Worthy said there are also many contributing factors that aren't often talked about.

"We pathologize the young people and say they are doing these things, but we aren't necessarily talking about what we as adults with power and standing can do to shift the conditions that young people are living in so that their realities are different," Worthy said.

Police said they do not have a suspect in Thursday’s shooting. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to call Crimestoppers.

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