Gun Violence

Brad Larrison / WHYY

new study suggests hospital emergency rooms across the country could play a bigger role in preventing gun violence.

Kelli Freeman

A leader, an old soul and a “laid-back kid” are how Jonathan Freeman’s family remembers him. The 16-year-old was fatally shot at a friend’s house in Homewood earlier this month. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

There were 55 homicide deaths in Pittsburgh last year, most due to gun violence. Despite the Tree of Life shooting in October, in which 11 people were killed by one gunman, homicide deaths dropped for the fourth year in a row.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

For mothers who have lost children to gun violence, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time. An event in Pittsburgh will bring some of these grieving women together.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Jews and non-Jews gathered Saturday at Rodef Shalom, a reform synagogue in Pittsburgh, one week after a shooting at nearby Tree of Life where 11 people were killed.

Usually, services are held in Rodef Shalom’s small chapel, but this week the synagogue used its larger sanctuary. More than half of the 1,100 seats were filled.

Courtesy of the artist and Peter Freeman, Inc., New York

One of the oldest collections of contemporary art, the Carnegie International, debuts its 57th edition to the public on Saturday. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced a $1.5 million grant program aimed at reducing gun violence around the state.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Thousands of Americans turned out last weekend for the largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War. What did March for Our Lives accomplish, and what are students and lawmakers taking away from this renewed effort against gun violence? 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

In an empty classroom after lunch period, student organizers go over final details for an upcoming rally and march, including confirming speakers and collecting cash for T-shirt orders.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Officials at a Pennsylvania high school say they will issue detentions to more than 200 students who walked out of school as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department / AP

At Friday’s symposium “Responsible Reporting of Gun Violence” at the University of Pittsburgh, researchers discussed how to prevent mass shootings.

Russell Palarea, an operational psychologist who works in Bethesda, Maryland, works to thwart intentional and targeted acts of violence. He said that it’s a myth that people snap and then commit mass violence.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A violent crime committed with a firearm in Pennsylvania holds a mandatory five-year sentence tacked onto any other convictions for the same incident. State Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny County) wants to amend this law to make sure those sentences are served one after another.

"What's happening is, the judges are running them concurrently instead of consecutively, and the [additional] five years don't mean anything," DeLuca said.

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Since September, seven boys attending Woodland Hills School District schools have been shot; five of those students died. Earlier this month, the junior-senior high school was on lockdown after a teenager was shot in East Pittsburgh.

John Locher / AP

Gun violence kills thousands of Americans every year. It carries massive consequences in lives lost, injuries and medical treatment, but what about the economic cost – in jobs, businesses and community development? How can we measure the opportunity cost of gun violence?

Chicago Police Department / AP

Police misconduct can do a lot of damage -- inciting fear or upsetting the public trust that officers need to do their jobs, especially when their actions affect primarily people of color.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Law enforcement officials are attempting another concerted effort to reduce gun crime in the city. The Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime, or PIRC, a joint city and federal project, began in 2010, but faded out within four years.

“[We] never had the buy in or the command staff, let alone the officers themselves. The difference is we have an entirely new command staff,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who was a member of City Council when PIRC was created.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Vanessa McCarthy-Johnson was scrambling to organize her community at this time last year. The Wilkinsburg Borough councilwoman said she felt there was a need to come together after five people, including a pregnant woman, were murdered at a backyard barbecue in the neighborhood.

John Beale / AP

The Joint State Government Commission is recommending changes to a decades-old domestic violence protection law in Pennsylvania.

The group is pushing for updates that would, among other things, make it more difficult for abusers to access firearms.

Jeffrey Benzing / PublicSource

 A subtle breeze and pristine blue sky set a peaceful scene in the Hill District this morning, so the immediate thought might not be on the dozens of young men killed in the span of only a few blocks.

I write novels for a living, and novels are about how characters deal with the intrinsic conflicts that make them who they are — and their efforts to overcome them. Sometimes characters are able to overcome their conflicts and sometimes, in tragedies, they succumb to them, which results in ruin. This is why it troubled me so much to witness recent events unfold like something out of a book.

Teen Artists Paint Murals With Hope Of Curbing Gun Violence

Jul 13, 2016
Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

About 100 teens, many of them covered in splattered paint, gathered at the corner of North Homewood Avenue and Idlewild Street in Homewood on Tuesday.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

On the heels of the sit-in staged by Democrats in the House of Representatives last week, one Pennsylvania Congressman took to the steps of Pittsburgh's City-County Building on Wednesday to renew calls for lawmakers to hold a vote on proposed gun reforms.

Hydro / flickr

Gun violence is the leading cause of mortality among young black men and the county needs to treat it as a public health issue, according to Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

How do we help to prevent this?” Hacker asked. “And how do we help communities to heal because the impact of this kind of violence is really like post-traumatic stress in many of our communities.”

She found an ally in the local Christian community.

On June 17, 2015, Malcolm Graham learned that his sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, a librarian and a devout Christian, was one of nine victims shot and killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Here is Graham, a career politician who recently lost a Congressional bid in North Carolina, in his own words on what it was like to lose "the glue" that held his family together.

I was at home getting ready for bed in Charlotte and I saw the news scroll at the bottom of the TV. It said that there was a shooting in Charleston at Emanuel and people were feared dead.

A gunman opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday morning, killing at least 50 people in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history before being shot dead by police.

Canadian2006 / Wikimedia Commons

An adult homicide charge has been filed against a 14-year-old Mount Pleasant boy after he allegedly shot and killed his 13-year-old friend while playing with a handgun in a neighbor’s house.

A Westmoreland County judge will now have to decide whether to decertify the case, which would send it to juvenile court for a maximum possible sentence of seven years, when the boy would turn 21.

Monroeville attorney Patrick Thomassey, who has represented juveniles facing adult charges, said the limitations of juvenile courts' jurisdictions in Pennsylvania make that a tough choice.

Wilkinsburg Residents Share Ideas To End Violence

Mar 14, 2016
Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds of residents filled South Avenue United Methodist Church in Wilkinsburg on Saturday to talk about crime and community development following Thursday's shooting that killed five people, including a pregnant woman.

Among community members and leaders was Michael Walker, whose son, Jerry Shelton, died in the mass shooting.

“My son was my oldest," Walker told the crowd. "He was a good man. A good, caring and loving man.”

Ryan Loew / PublicSource

    

The street where Carol Speaks grew up is only blocks from where her grandson Antwann died.

At 19 years old, he was shot 17 times, according to Carol, in front of witnesses just down the street from Homewood’s Westinghouse Academy.

Ryan Loew / PublicSource

  Monica Hawkins can still laugh at her son Donté’s sense of humor as she replays it nearly four years later on YouTube. And she can smile at the uncanny resemblance her grandson Jaiden has to his dad. The same smile. The same mischievous energy.

But fresh tears come when she recounts the night Donté died at age 20, the helplessness she felt at the scene, and the hole his loss leaves in their family.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

  Police are puzzled why the city's aggravated assaults, shootings and calls for shots fired all rose in 2015 as the number of homicides fell to levels more on par with previous years, Police Chief Cameron McLay said Friday.

Traditionally, shootings are a good measure for a city's homicide rate, McLay said. That didn't hold true for Pittsburgh in 2015.

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