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'They need to put the guns down, stop all the violence': Community members react to 2 children shot near Fairground Park

A 16-year-old and 9-year-old were shot on Monday afternoon. Both victims are in critical condition, but they are stable.

ST. LOUIS — We have new information on a double shooting that critically injured two children.

It happened Monday, Sept. 12, afternoon in North St. Louis, near Fairground Park.

The encouraging news is while both of those victims are in critical condition, they are stable. 

Police say the 9-year-old boy and 16-year-old boy were caught in the crossfire and they believe multiple people fired shots. 

The crime is opening up the discussion of a broader problem that's making the community nervous. That problem is violence among children. 

For Lenora Brown, prayer is all she feels like she can do.

"Keep them in our prayers and let them be safe," she said.

Brown said she worries daily for her grandchildren, with gun violence everywhere now.

"It could have been them if they was here, so it is a big concern, a big issue," she said.

That concern hitting even closer to home after two children were shot in Brown's neighborhood. 

A 16-year-old boy was shot in his neck and a 9-year-old boy was shot in his lower back.

The 16-year-old told police the shots were fired in his direction and the 9-year-old was playing outside and was caught in the crossfire. 

"It's senseless for them to be doing this," Brown said. "They need to put the guns down, stop all the violence."

"Our younger generation is leaving us too quick," she said. "They need to be here to grow...do what they love to do."

"It's just so sad to see that happen," Brown also said.

She said it's happening so often now, that kids are more afraid.

Brown sees and hears it first-hand as a school bus driver.

"I noticed they look around a lot to see what's going on, to make sure, the ones that I drive, so it is a concern with some of the kids on the bus that I drive," she said.

Jessica Meyers, coordinator at St. Louis Area Prevention Commission, said it's not just something parents and kids are worried about though.

"It is definitely something that we're very concerned about, and something that will take an all-hands-on-deck strategy, if we want to address the issues that are leading to these incidents," she said.

That's exactly what Meyers, and her team at the commission are trying to do. 

Meyers also said they have seen an increase in youth that are either victims of unintentional shootings or intentional shootings.

Meyers said that's why they are trying to take a different approach.

"We really want to take a step back from when a crime happens and figure out what are all the root causes that led up to that violent incident," she said.

It's an issue that can't be fixed overnight, Meyers said.

"If we want to build healthy communities for kids, and we want kids to be safe from violence, we need to focus on all the aspects of the community," she said.

Meyers said her team is working on several different things to help with this issue like hosting pop-up events for kids and launching a new campaign "Stop, Lock and Drop It."

She said they will be going to schools to talk about the new campaign, soon. 

If you are an organization and want to host a youth pop-up event, you can learn more and apply here

The commission received funds to sponsor those pop-up events through June 2023 and each event has a budget of $5,000.

One thing we still have not learned about the shooting from police is what led up to it.

5 On Your Side will keep asking that question, as police continue to investigate.

To watch 5 On Your Side broadcasts or reports 24/7, 5 On Your Side is always streaming on 5+. Download for free on Roku or Amazon Fire TV.

RELATED: 'They don't feel safe': Family of 16-year-old shot and killed by St. Louis Police speaks out

RELATED: 2 children shot, injured near Fairground Park, police say

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