'It's not okay': More than 400 young people shot in Milwaukee since 2019; students speak out

’It’s not okay’: More than 400 young people shot in Milwaukee since 2019; students speak out

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- More young people in Milwaukee are becoming victims of gun violence.

In one of the most recent homicides, a 13-year-old girl was killed and her 10-year-old sister was hurt on the city's south side.

CBS 58 is breaking down gun violence data from police and talked with students about how the crime is impacting them.

Davieon Lewis lost a relative to gun violence. The Milwaukee Excellence Charter School student says his loved one was the same age he is now, 16.

"I just feel like we have to start with ourselves in the community because the gun violence has to stop," Lewis said.

He thinks social media and pure negativity play a role in Milwaukee's gun violence.

"It sounds bad but it's starting to become like normal," he added.

The crime is hurting and killing the city's young people. In 2019, there were 68 non-fatal shootings among victims 18 years old and younger. Two years later, that number jumped to 149.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said he realizes the distrust between community and police, but says it's a shared responsibility. He urges people to find other ways to speak out.

"If they're not comfortable with that, communicating with the police or Crime Stoppers, then they ought to call their elected officials and let their elected officials anonymously give information to the authorities," Johnson said.

From 2019 to 2021, there was a 31% increase in young people shot and killed in the city.

This year, at least seven young people 18 years old and under were killed, which matches the total number killed in all of 2019.

"Our communities need to heal," Karin Tyler, family injury and violence prevention manager for the Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), said.

Tyler said OVP is working on a number of initiatives, including plans to launch its "Summer of Healing."

"We're really trying to encourage community organizations to apply. We want to fund a lot of summer programming with youth and really try to connect them," Tyler said.

Zaniyah Johnson, an 11th grade student at Milwaukee Excellence, says strong relationships are key to stopping violence for us all.

"If we're supposed to be a community, y'all shooting people in the community is breaking the community. It's not okay," Johnson said.

To learn more about OVP's Summer Healing initiative, click here.

(Data below provided by the  Milwaukee Police Department)

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