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“It is getting terrible”: Gainesville’s surge in summer violence grows after two weekend shootings

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Officials with the Gainesville Police Department are adding to the list of gun violence cases in the city after two more shootings over the weekend.

“I’m like, oh God, not another shooting,” explained Cynthia Cooper, a lifelong Gainesville resident, and mother.

On Saturday, gunfire at around 9 p.m. in the Woodland Park neighborhood sent two to the hospital with life-threatening wounds. Neighbors in the area were enjoying a night out.

“I was sitting outside on the porch around 9:30/ 9:15, and I thought I heard fireworks,” said Cooper.

That is exactly what 13-year-old Byron, who was playing tag with his friends, thought he heard as well.

“Usually, they pop fireworks so I thought it was fireworks but then when I saw the flash,” explained Byron.

He then realized it was something very different.

“I immediately started scramming and, I made sure all of my friends got in the house that way nobody got hit or injured,” said the 13-year-old.

RELATED STORY: BREAKING: GPD investigates a drive-by shooting in SE Gainesville

Cooper said after hearing the noise, she went to see what happened.

“I just heard gunshots, probably about 4 or 5. I just walked to the corner to observe, and then I came back home. Then all of the police and ambulances and fire trucks started coming into the neighborhood, and they said someone got shot around the back,” explained Cooper.

As Gainesville police attempt to tackle the rise in gun violence seen in the city over the summer, residents are pleading for help because this latest incident hit very close to home.

“It is getting terrible. Something needs to be done. It really does. There is no more training. They need home training,” said Cooper. “They need more guidance. They need more structure, more discipline.”

13-year-old Byron said everyone needs to stay safe, “Y’all stay safe.”

GPD Officers investigated a second shooting on Saturday night at the Pavilion on 62nd. Both cases remain under investigation, and no one has been arrested.

We reached out to City Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker, who represents the Woodland Park community, but have not heard back at the time of publishing. The Gainesville Housing Authority operates the community.

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