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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett calls on faith community to help stop violence

Mayor Tom Barrett
Posted at 6:44 AM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 07:44:46-04

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is calling on the faith community to help make the city safer. This as Milwaukee has seen at least four shootings in the past 24 hours.

Barrett believes engaging church-goers could reduce the rash of violence. While he doesn't think those who are behind these shootings and crime are in church on Sunday mornings, he does believe those who have a big impact on their lives may be.

Among those singing and dancing in the church pews Sunday morning was Barrett calling on churches across the city to send a message of peace.

"The violence we see is most often young men and I realize a young man who is out until 3:00 a.m. isn't going to be in church on a Sunday morning, but his mom might be there or his grandmother," he said.

The need is evident as Milwaukee police investigate four shootings starting Saturday night outside an auto parts shop on Capitol. On Sunday morning, dozens gathered with balloons at a vigil on 23 and State to remember the life of a 23-year-old man taken by gun violence overnight.

Police said two more people were hurt in shootings in broad daylight on Sunday.

"My friend said he heard about 4 or 5 shots and boom," said Hugh Brownlee.

One of those shootings was right outside Brownlee's home where evidence markers show where bullet shells came to rest.

"I've been tired of it, kids are getting shot, grown people getting shot, old people getting shot and robbed," he said.

While Milwaukee police said homicides are down 25-percent compared to this time last year, Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and that's when crime on Milwaukee's streets normally kicks into high gear. Barrett believes the more churches are engaged he more effective the city can be.

"We want to stop the violence before it even occurs because we want this to be a safe city," he said.

The name of the 23-year-old shooting victim who died from his injuries has not been released.