Families affected by gun violence calling for change
BATON ROUGE - Families affected by gun violence are calling for city leaders and community members to take action and combat the rise in crime and mental illness.
Cathy Toliver, the grandmother of Devin Page Jr., a 3-year-old who was killed by a stray bullet when gunfire erupted right outside his bedroom, and Paul Rice, the father of Allie Rice, an LSU student who was shot and killed on Government Street, are calling for a change.
Toliver and Rice, along with Clay Young and Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, are hosting a meeting Friday night to gather ideas and suggestions from the public to combat gun violence and mental illness.
They want to make a plan to combat societal issues that will unfold over the next 11 months.
“We’re gonna put a foot on the evil’s head.” said Toliver. After her grandchild was killed back in April, the past nine months have been spent grieving. During that time, she's picked up on just how prevalent the problem, and just how many, now grieve.
“Her son was shot, right at her feet” something a mother shared with her during an encounter at the grocery store."
Joining forces with the Rice family, they're ready to see change, it comes as Rice says there's been a lot of talk about implementing change, but he believes, there needs to be further action.
“A lot of lip service.” is how Rice described it. Both Rice and Toliver say, it could be a need for different approaches.
Rice says, this isn't the only problem, he's picked up on.
"So many of them are getting out quickly and committing crimes again before even being prosecuted for the first one.” he said.
It's something the father of Allie Rice believes, could have played a role in the death of his daughter.
"I hear it from Chief Paul himself all the time, 'we're tired of arresting the same people over and over again.' I have no doubt that whoever's involved in our incidents here has probably done something before." said Rice.
Initiatives to help stop it, are already underway.
“The Baton Rouge law enforcement criminal justice foundation that's supporting this effort just approved fourteen new cameras just this past week.”
Those efforts, and similar ones, will only expand over the next couple of months.
"We're gonna take the next eleven months, we're gonna break it down” says Toliver.
It's something Chief Murphy Paul, will help assist them.
"The Chief is gonna tell us what areas are the high crime areas, and we want to take your ideas, your suggestions, and we're going to implement them, each month.”'
Which they plan to continue, until December.
"We're gonna revisit in December to see our progress."
The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday night at the East Baton Rouge Main Library.
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