Pastors Demand Change Over Miami Shootings
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – More than 20 pastors from around Miami-Dade met with Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa for a few hours on Tuesday and say he endorsed some of their ideas to curb the shootings that plagued the inner city.
“They deserve to be able to live a normal setting without dodging bullets and diving on floors,” said Rev. Richard Dunn, who was one of the ministers at Miami Police headquarters.
CBS4 caught up exclusively with the pastors before and after their meeting with Orosa.
“We need more people to come forward when things are happening in their community and in their own back yard,” the Reverend Anthony Tate told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
Rev. Billy W.L. Strange told D’Oench, “Let’s go back to the concept that it takes a village to raise a child. We all have to be involved at some level.”
The pastors called for more community policy, more crime tips from the public and they said they would reach out to more young people to serve as mentors.
Reverend Ronald Johnson said, “From the outward side, we see that many people are angry. We need to find out why they are so angry.”
“It is important for all of the community leaders to come together and strategize to bring hope back into our community,” said Rev. Gaston Smith.
Three shootings on Saturday, Sunday and Monday claimed the lives of two 16-year-old boys including Marquise Brunson and Dante Vilet. Brunson was shot at the Liberty Square Housing Development and Vilet was shot in Brownsville as he ran away from two gunmen in a car.
Reverend Carl Johnson told D’Oench after the meeting with Orosa that “This chief even though he is a cop is a cop with compassion. He heard us very clearly about putting corrective action in place.”
“We’re going to try to have a corner clergy night to try to solicit people who are involved with crime to meet with clergy under the tree during the night to find out what is ailing them, what their troubles are.”
The pastors said they plan to meet again soon with Orosa.
Meanwhile, a 29-year-old rap artist who came under fire from a high-powered weapon on Saturday and who was shot in the knee in a drive-by shooting says he is fortunate to be alive.
D’Oench also spoke with rap artist 29-year-old Andre Scott who is known as Young Scrilla. He was involved with producing a video when shots from an AK 47 rang out.
“The vehicle came up beside me and there were two guys wearing masks and they were shooting AK 47s,” said Scott. “I rolled on the ground and I tried to run but I lost a lot of blood and I passed out. Honestly I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t provoke anyone.”
“It’s all a senseless crime,” he said. “It’s going about it the wrong way. The message I want to give is to watch your company and to keep your focus.”
On Tuesday, grief counselors helped students at Booker T. Washington High School, where two students have been wounded in drive-by shootings in recent months.
Fifteen-year-old Aaron was paralyzed by a bullet while riding his bicycle in late December. And on Monday, 17-year-old Juan Videa was shot in the stomach while waiting for his school bus.
Booker T.Washington parent Ilya Williams told CBS4’s Natalia Zea that she overcame the “no-snitch” culture. Her teen daughter’s Testimony helped convict a murderer in 2004, she said. But it wasn’t easy.
“I know what I did was right, but it was still scary. Even telling you right now it is scary. But I try to instill in them that you do what is right. I know if more people were like me, that stand
up for what they believe in, that would make a difference.”