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Lexington city leaders discuss the outbreak of recent gun violence

Stu Johnson

A rash of recent violence in Lexington has caught the attention of city leaders. Mayor Linda Gorton said her administration and community partners are working to address gun violence every day. During a news conference Tuesday, the mayor said the violence angers her, adding it should for all citizens.

“It is brazen, it is bold, and it is without shame. There are too many guns in the hands of criminals with ill intentions,” said Gorton.

Gorton said domestic violence-related murders are up eleven hundred percent over last year. She noted unacceptable behavior needs to be reported every time and police need to know they are appreciated every day. Gorton said her staff is preparing to sit down with the FOP. The mayor noted license reading cameras are working to catch criminals and more are needed.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers says his department is working diligently to address gun violence. The department is shorthanded when it comes to officers. During the morning news conference, Weathers said part of his agency’s staffing problem currently comes from officers leaving who don’t feel appreciated. The chief renewed the call for citizens to speak up when they learn of concerns.

“The stuff that’s happening out here. It’s happening because we are letting the criminals win. We cannot do that anymore. If you want this place to remain the best place, stand up, say something,” said Weathers.

Chief Weathers noted traditional gang activity is not on the increase in Lexington. He added the situation is fluid and that makes it difficult to have a good definition for a gang today.

Devine Carama heads One Lexington, the city’s youth violence prevention initiative. Carama said a quick fix is not realistic, adding Lexington has never seen this level of violence.

“So, we’re still building our infrastructure. A lot of things other cities are doing, when they hear what we’re doing, they said ‘ok you all are on the right track, but they’ve had years of this level of violence to build that infrastructure,” said Carama.

Carama said there are 40 to 50 mentors working alongside One Lexington to reach out to young people.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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