Some people were there because they have friends and relatives who were shot to death.
Others came because they live in Charlotte neighborhoods where its common to hear gunshots throughout night.
All of the nearly 100 Charlotte residents at the Tuesday night forum on area gun violence were there to express concern about the ties between guns and crime, and to hear leaders in law enforcement, emergency health care and neighborhood groups discuss those issues.
Im wanting to see where a community can help with violence and what causes it, said Rose Hamid, 53, who also serves on the board of the event-sponsor Community Building Initiative.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Deputy Chief Kerr Putney began a 30-minute panel discussion with a doctor from Carolinas Medical Centers trauma team and an Enderly Park pastor by providing a few of Charlottes homicide statistics:
Over the past five years, the majority of homicides have happened in a crescent across neighborhoods in west, central and east Charlotte, Putney said.
Eighty-three percent of the suspects in those homicide cases have been black males, the deputy chief said, and 56 percent of the victims are black men.
Dr. David Jacobs, associate trauma director at Carolinas Medical Center, described gun violence in Charlotte as a disease for young men of color but something that affects an entire community.
Somebody who is shot 20 miles away off Beatties Ford Road that diminishes us as city, Jacobs said.
The Rev. Jason Williams of the faith-based non-profit Hyaets Community in west Charlotte noted the importance of building strong ties with neighbors as one of the ways to combat gun violence.
At the end of the conference, the panelists challenged forum attendees to give opportunities to young people in need and to lead by example.
People live on a sliding scale between fear and power, Putney said.
My challenge to you is to make an investment to move someone from one end of the scale to another, Putney.
Steele: 704-358-5067 on Twitter: @steelecs
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