Mayor Demings says county is finalizing task force to address gang-related violence

Task force should be finalized this week

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the county is finalizing a task force designed to address gang-related violence.

“I can tell you, there is tremendous interest. There have been quite a few people who have contacted us about their willingness to volunteer and so just trying to work through that process,” Demings said.

The initiative is aimed at tackling a problem faith leaders like Pastor Stovelleo Stovall of ‘God is Able Outreach’ said is crucial and begins at home.

“We need more of the parents' help,” Pastor Stovall said.

On Saturday, the Sheriff’s Office responded to two shootings linked to gang activity, a 13-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy. It happened on the 300 block of Ferguson Drive.

“They are shooting and killing one another about social media, talking about what they are going to do to each other, claiming turf and it can be stopped,” Pastor Stovall said.

Pastor Stovall said he is committed to calling for an end to gang-related violence among teens that has shaken the community to a level he said he has never seen before.

“They realize it’s too late, it’s too late, you can’t bring it back you can’t erase this and say ‘oh no I’m not going to do that’ you’ve done it,” Pastor Stovall said.

The latest shootings come as the Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating the fatal shootings of a 14-year-old and a 3-year-old.

“Once these families have to make funeral arrangements for their kids, it’s too late,” Pastor Stovall said.

Mayor Demings said the citizen’s task force should be finalized this week. He said they want to make sure members of the task force are representative of the entire community.

About the Author:

Nicky Zizaza is an Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 6 nightside team in December 2018. She is originally from Rwanda and she started her journalism career in the nation's capital.