The young gunshot victims in Chattanooga

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 8/20/2013 6:39 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Almost every week and sometimes every other day, news media in Chattanooga is on scene of a violent crime that involves gunshot victims and unfortunately the victims are children.
On June 29th of this year, a 16 year old was gunned down in the street.

Last Tuesday, A pregnant girl was shot in the back.

Monday morning, a 15-year old died in the hospital just two days after being shot in the head.

Weekly violence in Chattanooga is getting old and the victims younger.

"I think it's very disturbing. Like you said, the age is getting lower in regards to our young people, " said Chattanooga city councilman Yusuf Hakeem.

No one is more familiar with the daily violence than trauma surgeon Dr. Donald Barker.

"It's tragic. We see normal healthy young men come into the emergency room who are either mortally wounded and end up dying or often times end up with severe disabilities that follow them for the rest of their life," said Dr. Barker.

Councilman Hakeem says a budget has already been approved to hire 40 more police officers to help combat violence that is either injuring and killing so many youngsters.

"When you take half of those officers and put them in a special unit that deals with gang and extreme violence; you're talking about suppressing that violence," said Hakeem.

Suppression sounds encouraging but there's also an underlying reality.

"Everyone wants to see it stopped right now and I don't think that's the reality of how things will work out," said Hakeem.

As for the child who died Monday morning, residents in his neighborhood are remaining tight-lipped for fear that they could become targets of violence.
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