You Paid For It: Area officials comment on recent shootings involving children

You Paid For It

ST. LOUIS – You Paid For It investigator Elliott Davis questioned officials on both sides of the river in the wake of two children being shot from bullets fired outside their homes.

A three-year-old East St. Louis toddler died from wounds she suffered Sunday as she watched TV. East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern said the community heart is broken. 

The mayor says crime in his city is down about 67 percent this year. He says he’s not sure what can be done about a random act by an unthinking individual with a gun.

Eastern noted his city is still trying to get over the deaths of fives children who tragically died in a fire, and now this. 

St Louis is dealing with much of the same problem. On Monday, a 12-year-old girl was inside her home when she was grazed in the head by a shot fired from outside the house. She’ll recover from her wounds. 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed points out that homicides in the city are down some 20 percent. Still, he says more can be done to make kids safer in the city.

He says the board of aldermen has appropriated more than $10 million dollars for things like Cure Violence and other measures. But he says Mayor Tishaura Jones has been slow in spending the money. 

The mayor’s representative Wilford Pinkney, director of the Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth and Families, refuted Reed’s allegations, saying that the mayor was using resources to help kids and families deal with violence.

“I think the city is doing a lot of keep kids safe. Can we do more? I think there’s always an argument for more to be done, but the city is doing a lot by starting with how we respond and making a concerted effort to make sure that whenever a child is not only directly affected by violence but secondarily affected by violence that we have someone to respond,” Pinkney said. 

James Clark, vice president for Public Safety for the Urban League of Metropolitan St Louis, has consistently been in the fight against violence and the battle to make kids safer.

He wants shooters to think twice about whose around when they pull the trigger. Clark also said he’s more optimistic than he’s been in 15 years.

He sees neighborhoods are finally wanting people to be held accountable for the violence impacting the communities and putting the lives of kids in danger. 

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