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Stopping The Violence, Springfield Residents Take a Stand

Stopping Gang Violence march outside Springfield City Hall

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — There have been six homicides in Springfield this year. The disturbing wave of crimes have many in the community standing up for peace.

“We want this violence to stop in our community. We’re loosing all our kids out here to gun violence. It needs to stop. That’s why we’re here today…to support our community and pray this stops,” said Amanda Batchelor. Her nephew died last month in a deadly shooting on Kensington St.  His family is still searching for closure.

“We haven’t heard anything since the day of his murder and that was June 4th. Here it is today, and we still have no answers. ”

Several people showed their support of the anti-violence movement by attending today’s events.

“It’s about break the silence and the violence,” said seven-year-old Linette Rivera. “Bad people do bad things that they’re not supposed to do.”

Since Memorial Day, four people have died and numerous have been sent to the hospital with gunshot and stab wounds. Most of these incidents are gang related.

“When they told me to do something, I did it. If I didn’t, there were consequences. I changed my life since I lost my brother in the year 2000. There are kids that don’t want to be in gangs, but are just looking for some love,” said David Serrano, a speaker at the March Against Violence event and former gang member.

Some people believe the love that kids are looking for can be found at home. Parents are a key factor to keeping crime off the streets.

“My own son was gang involved. My own son was running the streets. I’ve always been there for him and giving him love. It’s not always kids that don’t have parents,” said Jennifer Diaz, the organizer of Stop The Violence Rally. “Sometimes they just stray away. It’s our job to bring them back and get them re-focused.”

Residents are advising everyone to speak up. A crime can be reported by sending a text to CRIMES or 274637.

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