“It's very disheartening after a weekend of peace has been proclaimed that we would have to deal with all these issues of violence,” said Pathways to Peace Director Victor Saunders.
Saunders says part of the problem is too many guns on the streets. “Unfortunately, we still have in the community a number of people who whether it's conflict related or not have access to firearms and have a propensity to use those,” said Saunders.
Rochester has tried several programs aimed at taking guns off the street including "no questions asked" drop-off program. Still gun crimes continue to plague the city. Saunders says many of the crimes are committed by young people who feel they need guns to protect themselves. “They need to understand you're 70 percent more likely to get shot carrying a firearm than not so there's no advantage to you carrying a gun,” said Saunders.
Saunders fears the city may be on pace to match last years homicide rate. Despite the latest shootings he says the city will continue it’s effort to stop the violence. “We have to get these guns out of our community, bottom line,” Saunders added.