LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg residents are saying things are headed in the right direction after some community members created ideas to help keep Lynchburg teens out of trouble.
This comes after two homicides in 2019 involved minors with guns.
On Dec. 24, Lynchburg’s commonwealth attorney Bethany Harrison and police chief Ryan Zudeima held a town hall to inform the community about what happened during the murder trial of Dre’yon Browley.
The 18-year-old was shot and killed last year.
The Austin Rozdilski, 17, was found not guilty after claiming self-defense.
Shortly after that meeting, a 15-year-old boy was charged with murder in the death of 31-year old Darius Saunders.
Search warrants say in late December the teen wanted to buy marijuana from the victim and claims Saunders tried to rob him. The teen was reportedly shot in the arm.
The boy tells police he took the gun from Saunders and shot him in the chest.
Police found Saunders’ body in the doorway of a home on Gum Street and took a number of items like 5 bags of “green plant-like material.”
10 News showed those warrants to Pastor Camm who’s been the moderators at the community meetings.
He says this crime is one of the reasons there needs to be action taken now to help Lynchburg teens.
“We know we have places like Jubilee that’s really effective, but they’re only a part of one area in our community. We must look at other areas. We want to see what the citizens have to say,” said James Camm with One Community One Voice. “I think if we can get our kids focused on elsewhere these things won’t occur.”
Wednesday night, community members gathered at E.C. Glass High School jotting down suggestions like more male mentors, giving teens a positive place to go and asking city leaders to step up and take action too.
While the ideas were flowing, people noticed there weren’t many young people in the crowd to offer their opinions and many say they should’ve been there.
“Sometimes as adults, we feel like we have the answer and sometimes young people need to do what we say, rather than having a conversation with them and hearing them and understanding their needs and attempting to meet those needs,” said Bryan Moss, meeting attendee.
Organizers are planning a third meeting, this time to include more teenagers.