Public gathers for Chattanooga gun violence summit

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – At a gun violence summit hosted by Hamilton County Commissioner Warren Mackey, passions were high.

“There’s no kids that wake up one morning and says ‘I’m going to blow your brains out’. These are things that happen when they’re in elementary school!” said one speaker.

The event was open to the public, where people could share their thoughts and solutions on the spike in gun violence in Chattanooga.

“What I’m saying is – self awareness programs, that’s where it starts first. But they have to start with the parents first with self awareness,” pleaded another speaker.

Residents shared their own experiences with gun violence and the local police force.

“This is my brother Donald Cornelius Ramsay murdered over thirty years ago – and today I still grieve him,” said one woman.

Commissioner Mackey made Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger publicly pledge to combat gun violence.

“Can we count on you and get your word that you’re going to work with us and help us address the violence in the black community?” asked Commissioner Mackey.

“Certainly – or absolutely,” responded Mayor Coppinger.

The Mayor said he intended to follow through on his pledge.

“I’ve seen these things happen before but today was the first time I actually seen people saying they want to see some action items that we can actually do to actually make the situation better,” he said.

Interim Police Chief Eric Tucker says the problem is more than just a policing issue.

“This goes beyond just you know people breaking laws or police need to stop this, this goes into a community response,” said Tucker.

Commissioner Mackey says while he was satisfied with the event, it’s only just the beginning.

“Government is for and by the people to serve the people, and that’s what we’re going to be trying to do,” he says.

The location and time of a follow-up event will be announced in the coming weeks.

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