Local Nonprofit Comments on Weekend Shooting

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — On Saturday night, six people were shot on Cherry Street. All six victims were under the age of 18.

To understand the factors that lead to violence among teens, News 12 reached out to Toccora Johnson-Peterson, CEO of Girls Incorporated, a nonprofit for young women.

Peterson said one risk factor is an unstable family structure.

“Any entity that has the capacity to fill in the gaps — I mean, I think it’s our responsibility to do that, to support that single mother or that single father,” she said.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, the number of teens injured or killed with guns has largely been increasing since 2014.

Peterson is a Chattanooga native, and feels that the use of firearms is more prevalent among teens than it used to be.

“When I was their age it was physical fights, right — we used hands; people used hands. They were not picking up guns, so I just think the crisis is still there, it just looks different, and the way that we respond, and the solutions we provide have to look different as well,” she added.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly appeared on MSBNC, this morning, where he emphasized it is illegal for someone under the age of 18 to be carrying a firearm.

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