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Community leaders search for solutions to youth gun violence in Covington

Covington police cruiser shooting crime tape
Posted at 12:04 AM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 00:04:58-04

COVINGTON, Ky. — More than two dozen community members gathered in Covington Thursday night, all asking themselves one question: "Are we doing enough?"

Video of a fight-turned-shooting that left three children hospitalized shocked the community, but it was one teen's statement after the violence that broke hearts. In an interview with WCPO, a girl who witnessed the shooting spoke about a culture of fighting among teens in the city.

“You gotta know how to fight living in Covington, and if you don’t know how to fight, you better go get a gun. And that’s what everybody’s been doing,” she said. “We too young to be doing it, but that’s what everybody thinks is okay now.”

Crystal Madaris, a member of the Northern Kentucky branch of the NAACP, said she was saddened to hear the teen's outlook.

"That's completely alien to me," Madaris said. "And to think that now ... their answer is to get a gun, it's a different world from where I came from."

Jeremy Bowles, branch president, said the shooting was a wake-up call. The organization hosted a meeting with pastors, cops, city leaders and activists in hopes of finding an answer to the increased youth violence.

"We have to work together as community partners to develop some innovative strategies to help reduce violence in our communities," Bowles said.

The group discussed concerns and possible solutions. While no children were involved in the conversation, they spoke about possibly holding a panel at local schools to get their opinions.

"I hope we can come up with a solution that we take hold to and take part of because definitely, we need a solution here," Madaris said.

Leaders plan to meet again in three weeks.

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'You gotta know how to fight living in Covington': Teen who witnessed shooting describes increase in youth violence