Orlando area community plots strategy to tackle gang violence

Residents said they had enough

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Around 100 people gathered on Thursday to come up with solutions to the gang violence hitting the Pine Hills community of Orlando.

The meeting took place at True Life Church, about one mile away from where three-year-old Daquan Felix was shot and killed last week in a drive-by shooting.

Fourteen-year-old Denis Atkinson was shot one day before.

Residents said they had enough.

“Stop being scared,” said one man. “I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Stop being scared. There are more of us than there are of them.”

“Being the way the violence is today, I think we should impose a curfew on these teenagers,” said another man.

“You have angry 14-year-olds out there with guns, and the thing about a 14-year-old when you asked them why they do it, most of them -- what do they say? They don’t know,” one woman said.

The meeting was briefly interrupted by news of another shooting.

Ocoee police reported a man was shot around 6:15 p.m. on Thursday in a shopping plaza along Silver Star Road -- approximately three miles away from the meeting venue.

They were still investigating the circumstances.

“We had another shooting in Ocoee,” Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill said. “How did that make you feel? Right? Even though it’s in Ocoee, it impacts us.”

Orange County sheriff’s investigators said they were still searching for the gunmen who killed the two children, and they said they’re determined to get a hold of the violence.

“The violent crime, the gang issue -- it’s our number one priority, we promise you that,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief of Operations Larry Zweig.

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013. He is one of the station’s lead reporters. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.