Announcement from the Circuit Attorney May 20, 2015
Gun Violence in St. Louis at “Crisis Level:” Family of Murder Victims and Community Members Unite in Call to Action
A phone call in the night. A detective on the line. A trip to the morgue. A beloved son or daughter, lying cold on a hard table. For many people, this is no nightmare. It’s life in St. Louis.
“Every day, they are killing each other, over nothing,” said Peggy Morgan, through tears she can’t control. First, gun violence claimed the lives of her two brothers. Then, it came for her son.
She’s far from alone. Children are dying in their homes. Innocent bystanders are gunned down by stray bullets. Hard-working St. Louisans are robbed on the streets, in stores and at home.
St. Louis is on fire, under siege by people who use illegal guns to harm others. Every single day, people are murdered, shot or robbed at gunpoint in this city. So far this year, more than 60 people have been murdered by gun violence. In 2014, 138 people were murdered by someone with a gun. There were 1,850 shootings and 900 armed robberies. In the past five years, more than 13,000 people have been victimized by guns.
Enough is enough. There have been too many tears.
“I love this city, but I am sickened by the amount of gun violence in St. Louis,” said Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce. “It has reached a crisis level. It’s an epidemic. My greatest fear is that we’ve become numb to it.”
That’s why Wednesday, Circuit Attorney Joyce gathered with family members of murder victims in the city Medical Examiner’s Office. They want the community to know that unless we deal with gun violence in the city, more people will become victims. More people who carry guns illegally will end up either in prison or in the graveyard.
“We need every one to stand up to this unacceptable level of gun violence,” Circuit Attorney Joyce said. “We need to know the numbers. Of the dead. Of the guilty. We need to listen to the victims and to the offenders. We all need to take action.”
The Medical Examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, also highlighted the near epidemic-like affect gun violence is having on young people in our community.
Circuit Attorney Joyce announced a new campaign to spread awareness about gun violence in the city. This includes a website sharing stories about the impact gun violence is taking on our city.
“Gun violence has terrorized our town for decades. It takes more than the police, prosecutors and judges to fix this problem,” Circuit Attorney Joyce said. “I am hopeful, though, that if the entire community gets engaged, we can reduce the numbers of murders, robberies and shootings in St. Louis.”
Mothers like Peggy Morgan say we must join together, before more parents experience her pain.
“I did my best to try to save him,” she said of her son, Calvin Ross, who was murdered at gunpoint when he was 22. “I saved him from jail but I couldn’t save him from death.”