BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Two men were hospitalized following shootings just a block apart Wednesday night in Belleville, Illinois.
According to the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, deputies were dispatched at about 7:20 p.m. Wednesday to the 7400 block of Westchester Drive following a report of shots fired.
While the department was searching the area, Belleville Memorial Hospital reported an 18-year-old man with gunshot wounds was brought into the hospital by a friend.
Shortly after, the department was called to the first block of Huntington Drive, just one block from Westchester Drive. There, officers found a 20-year-old man with a gunshot wound.
A firearm was recovered at the scene.
The 18-year-old was transported to a local hospital and was described to be in critical condition. The 20-year-old was hospitalized as of Thursday morning with a non-life-threatening injury, according to the sheriff's department.
Neither victim lived in the area, with one being from East St. Louis and the other from Cahokia Heights. The sheriff's department said it was working to identify the victims' relationship with the area and each other.
The investigation was ongoing as of Thursday.
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Resources for crime victims
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Better Family Life is a nonprofit community development organization working to "stabilize inner-city neighborhoods." One aspect of its mission is a gun violence de-escalation program.
Life Outside of Violence "helps those harmed by stabbing, gunshot or assault receive the treatment, support and resources they need to find alternatives to end the cycle of violence."
The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has an anti-crime program called “Safety Net for Youth Initiative,” which is a joint partnership with St. Louis Public Schools to provide services to at-risk youth.
Cure Violence is an international organization that has recently launched in a handful of St. Louis neighborhoods. Violence interrupters are trained to deescalate violent situations within their own communities.