‘We don’t feel like a priority:’ Pine Hills activists call on county, city for resources

Residents want to see action after fatal shooting spree

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Community activists do not want this latest tragedy to be swept under the rug and forgotten about.

They blame the lack of resources in Pine Hills for the repeated crimes and are urging city and county leaders to step up.

After three lives were taken and two people were injured in a shooting spree on Wednesday, the community is hurting.

“Grief Stricken, horrifying for the families,” Pine Hills Safety Partnership president Rosemarie Diehl said.

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19-year-old Keith Moses is the suspected gunman.

Pine Hills residents condemn his actions and say he does not represent their community.

After the deadly shooting, Jae Fortune said his grief transformed into fear.

“I’m afraid of how accustomed we’ve come to it,” Fortune said.

Some residents are beginning to consider it normal, but community leaders are working to change that.

“I want the community to come out strong, numbers, banding together to push and work for a safer community,” Diehl said.

Community leader Seven Charlestin said safety-focused meetings need to be reoccurring.

“Let’s not just meet because of this crisis let’s continue to meet,” Charlestin said.

Diehl said her community groups plan to create a website for families to find mental health support.

“Sometimes, we can see the signs when we’re close to a person, but we just don’t know how to help them,” Diehl said.

Charlestin said city and county officials also need to step in.

“There’s so many things that the county has done and is doing, but they’re doing a very poor job of communication with people who live here and people who need those resources,” Charlestin said. “We don’t feel like we’re a priority.”

Fortune said the neglect will have consequences.

Without prevention, tragedy can strike Pine Hills again.

“Ignoring the most vulnerable and underserved in our community is only going to make tragic situations like this more common,” Fortune said.

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About the Author:

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.