“When the violence and the shootings just continue, it continues to bring on pain. It continues to bring on hurt,” says Patrina Peters.
Peters is still hurting today. Her son Demond was just 19-years-old when he was shot to death in the Lower Ninth Ward three years ago. She’s not blind to gang activity, which is why she’s joined the Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Group Violence Reduction Strategy.
“Based on the facts as we know them in law enforcement, there are a very small group of individuals that are the most violent and dangerous in the City of New Orleans,” says Mayor Landrieu.
The strategy works by calling in current and former gang members, offering them help, and learning more about their associates.
So far 649 people in 39 gangs have been identified including Akein Scott who is wanted for Sunday’s mass shooting. Police say he injured 20 people after being in and out of our justice system. Akein posted a $15,000 bond for illegally carrying a weapon while in possession of drugs. Landrieu says the bond was too low and he blames judges, while the DA says next time Akein Scott won’t get out.
“I can guarantee to the residents this, that when he is arrested we will prosecute him with every available resource we have to see to it that he is not in a position to hurt anyone else again,” says District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.
The message to gang members is clear: your associates are talking and your time will come, but it could be a mother’s heartfelt plea that will make the ultimate difference.
“Stop the shooting. Stop the violence. Put away the hate. Begin to love again,” cries Patrina Peters.