ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – More than 30 community leaders packed inside a room at The Experience Christian Center Thursday morning to find solutions on how to stop the violence in Orange County.
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This comes after one week after 14-year-old Denis Atkinson was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Orange County last week. Days later, deputies say 3-year-old Daquan Felix Jr. was also shot and killed in a drive-by shooting. Both shootings deputies say were a result of gang retaliation that started back in July.
Now, nearly four months later, community leaders are ready to get results.
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“We are tired of talking and we have some findings we believe could work in,” Bishop Derrick McRae said, he called the meeting Tuesday. “There has been some communication but we have not been on the same page. Today was a real meeting of pulling a lot of individuals together.”
McRae showed proposals brought by the leaders.
One of them is a proposal to reduce gun violence in Orange County.
The 3-page proposal from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has four main points to help reduce gun violence:
- Group Violence Intervention
- Advance Peace
- Cure Violence
- Hospital-Based Intervention.
The proposal also included letters of recommendation to implement this in Orange County from Democratic State Representatives Anna V. Eskamani and Carlos Guillermo Smith as well as a recommendation from former State Attorney Aramis Ayala.
“We are trying to figure out where the guns are coming from and come up with solutions to get those guns off the streets,” Bishop McRae added.
After the meeting, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said he is committed to working with the community leaders.
“We have always been willing to work with our community,” Sheriff Mina said. “A lot of these proposals we’ve seen nationwide, community-run programs that we are in full support of that and that’s where we are needed.”
Undersheriff Mark Canty grew up in this community, he says he is also committed to working for the community and getting his deputies out into these neighborhoods more.
“That is what we are trying to change for us get our deputies out there, get them seen by the community, let the community see that they are willing to work with them and they are not just there to arrest.”