The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

March 15, 2013

Violence-Plagued Urban Neighborhood Feels Ignored in Gun Debate

(Continued)

"You've got people who are just sick and tired of being sick and tired and are more willing to get information to the police," he said.

But despite such efforts, gun crime continues to drag down the neighborhood, Hamilton said.

"They're shooting over here, and they're shooting over there, and all of it is drug-related," he said. "These guys, they get guns and pass them around from one person to the next."

  •  

On a recent evening at Holy Christian House of Praise, where 300 funeral programs have been pinned to the wall outside the sanctuary, pastor Steve Young Sr. invited lawmakers who aren't familiar with urban crime to "come and see me because this ain't no duck hunt." The church hosts a Life After Homicide ministry to tend to the friends and families of people violently killed.

"The wall speaks for itself," said Saundra Beverly, whose son Anthony Eugene Wilson was gunned down — shot 22 times — Aug. 3, 2002.

Guns "are for wars, and we have a war in the inner city," Beverly said, scanning the programs.

Her voice cracked as she recalled her son's violent death. "I think they shot him because he knew too much," she said. He had been involved with gangs, his mother said, but he had placed his gun on the church's altar and vowed to stop hustling. The slaying remains unsolved.

The violence and the feeling that few outside the neighborhood care have wrought deep pain and a defensive bravado, apparent in this room.

"It's heartbreaking when you grow up in an environment where there's nothing but death around you," said Doneika Johnson, 26, who grew up with Dominic Davis, the young man who was shot in January. "It forces you to put on a tough attitude because you don't want to be perceived as a punk."

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