ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando police took possession of a pellet gun Monday night that was surrendered to a local church.
The pastor of Jump Ministries Global Church told News 6 a 17-year-old boy from the Pine Hills area heard his sermon on New Year's Day.
Dr. Durone Hepburn said he prayed for the recent shootings, stabbings and robberies in that area to end.
He said on Monday, the teenager appeared with the gun in his backpack and surrendered it to the church.
"He gave it to me and said he's trying to do better," Hepburn said. "He said he don't want to have no gun."
Orlando police and Orange County sheriff's investigators have responded to several violent crimes in the Pine Hills area over the past six weeks.
Hepburn said that inspired his church to re-energize their gun surrender program. He said the weapons are quickly turned over to law enforcement, no questions asked.
"With the right coach, any one of these young people can change their lives," Hepburn said. "I believe I was in the right place at the right time and I believe he felt safe."
"The path that most people are faced with, the choices that they have out there, is limited," Shadrack Belizaire, a member of Jump Ministries, said. "We're just showing there's more to life than what's out there on the streets."
News 6 watched as an Orlando police officer arrived at the church to seize the boy's gun.
Investigators said they check all guns that are surrendered to see if they've been stolen or if they've been used in the commission of any crimes.
For more information on surrendering weapons, call your nearest law enforcement agency.