Better Family Life teams with area churches to combat city gun violence

The uptick of gun violence in the city this year has community leaders taking action.

The uptick of gun violence in St. Louis this year has community leaders taking action.

It's through a new initiative to help community members feel comfortable with speaking out.

On Dec. 6, four churches in the St. Louis-area will serve as gun violence deescalation centers.

Organizers at Better Family Life said this will finally give the community a safe environment to come and express a problem before it turns into a shooting.

Phylis Curry continues to grieve and relive heartache since losing her 22-year-old son to gun violence a few months ago.

"Showing up at the morgue and seeing my son behind a glass where they opened a window to show me
him laying on a just ripped me up," she said.

On Aug. 28, DeAnthony Curry was shot and killed near the intersection of Page and Union.

Three months after his shooting, Phyllis believes something could have been done to prevent his death.

"If I had somebody to call or maybe somebody would have called me and said, 'We could have deescalated the problem,'" Phylis Curry said.

Deanthony Curry's murder is one of 171 homicides in the city this year according to data updated weekly by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

"Eighty percent of the people who are shot are shot by someone that they know," said James Clark, Vice President of Community Outreach for Better Family Life.

Clark works to deescalate gun violence across the city.

"The third party knew a conflict was brewing, they knew that the conflict had escalated to gun violence but, they had no place to go," Clark said.

Rvd. Rodrick Burton is the Pastor of one of those churches.

"The Bible says blessed are the peacemakers, and I believe the church is supposed to be working to be peacemakers and working towards the peace," Burton said.

"Whatever is needed to help work through issues to help save a life, I'm willing to do," Curry said.

New NorthSide Missionary Baptist, Greater St. Mark Family, Washington Metropolitan AME Zion and Curby Memorial Presbyterian are all taking part in the program.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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