Community members in Orlando are sounding the alarm over their safety and have told Channel 9 that more needs to be done following an increase in violence involving young people.
On Friday, dozens of community members gathered to celebrate life at the Boys & Girls Club of Parramore.
The ‘Forever 13’ celebration was planned after the Boys & Girls Club lost three teenagers to gun violence over the past three years.
These three 15-year-old Antwan Roberts, 15-year-old Corey Jones and 13-year-old Damionna Reed were remembered and celebrated on Friday evening.
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At tonight’s celebration, family and friends told Channel 9 that this senseless violence must stop.
Roberts was killed outside his grandmother’s house in 2020.
Jones was shot and killed on Grand Street in January 2022.
And Reed was shot and killed in a domestic violence incident a few weeks ago over Easter weekend on Grand Street.
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“How do you do when you’re 13 and you’ve murdered a classmate? We don’t know the answers,” said a speaker at Friday’s event.
Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith called out to the community for those responses.
“If someone sees something, they have to say something,” Smith said. “They have to let us get involved, they have to let the community get involved.”
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Damionna Reed’s mother, Darnita Fulmore, called on children in the community to intervene if they see anything wrong.
“Even if you know you are under threat or have joined a group of kids you don’t want to be with. You can always reach out to someone if you want to change what’s going on,” Fulmore said.
Smith added that part of solving this problem is to listen to children, if they have something to say – adults need to listen.
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