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“If you see something, say something”; Chief Jones, Gainesville city officials address concerns of recent gun violence

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 7:27 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Another shooting took place Monday night in Southeast Gainesville and after two mass shootings in the past month, Gainesville leaders are working to combat gun violence and reach out to young people.

Related story: BREAKING: GPD investigates a drive-by shooting in SE Gainesville

In a press conference with Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones and State Attorney for the Eighth District Brian Kramer on Tuesday, Jones said this amount of gun violence is unacceptable as several young people have been laid to rest recently. He said they need the community’s help now more than ever.

Related story: “We’ve got a problem on our hands”: GPD and 8th Avenue residents speak on recent drive-by shooting death

“If you see something, say something,” Jones said.

With two drive-by shootings within 48 hours, Attorney Kramer believed the younger people who are committing these crimes are less concerned about public safety.

“They’re younger and the indifference that they have to the safety of other people is greater and in that case that’s far more dangerous than what we’ve been seeing in the past,” Kramer said.

Chief Jones said he received tips from the community on the recent shootings. His main driving point at the conference was they can’t fight this violence alone, if you see or hear anything after a crime, or even if you think a crime is about to happen, reach out.

Related story: Leaders continue speaking out against gun violence after Northeast Gainesville mass shooting

Mayor Lauren Poe spoke with me over the phone and said his heart goes out to families who lost someone, as well as the victims who are recovering from gunshot wounds.

“That’s just a level of trauma that no one asks for and no one deserves,” Poe said.

He and Chief Jones said they are working on a business watch similar to a neighborhood watch along university avenue, and are getting more community leaders involved.

“Communities that are most impacted to work with individuals and try to get them out of a path of violence and get them into more productive activities,” Poe said.

Chief Jones will be doing exactly that with a “Stop the Violence” flag football game between officers and Gainesville High School students on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the school’s football field.

Related story: American Legion victim’s family has pursued legal action

“To break down barriers between law enforcement and our young people so you will be seeing a series of different things such as that,” Jones said.

Chief Jones said they will also begin a gun buyback program in August.

He said people who legally own guns should lock their cars because that’s how many people are getting their hands on weapons.

“If you have a gun illegally and use a gun illegally, if you are apprehended you stand a great chance of being arrested and prosecuted,” Jones added.

Jones and Kramer could not say whether there are any connections between Monday night’s drive-by shooting and Sunday night’s drive-by shooting that left one person dead and four wounded, but they are making it clear they need the community’s help finding those responsible.

To report a tip, call Crime Stoppers: (352) 463-7867

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