By DaQuan Lawrence, AFRO International Writer, DLawrence@afro.com and Aria Brent, AFRO Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Community leaders and elected officials alike are seeking to help neighborhood residents recover mentally and emotionally in the wake of recent mass shootings. Though mass shootings since July 1 have occurred across the country from California to New York and Massachusetts, the questions remain the same: why? And where do we go from here?
“The only thing that we really have to do is take a deeper look into the heart of the matter,” said Gregory Dennis, president of ACT Now Baltimore. “If we can’t get people’s hearts to change, we won’t get their lifestyles to change. What we need to do is begin to inspect and look at how we are helping families stay together.”
In the days after the mass shooting in Baltimore that injured dozens and claimed two lives, ACT Now made a point to be present with resources.
“How are we caring for one another? Do we see one another as a support system? Do we look at one another as an enemy or as a foe?” quipped Dennis. “If we see our neighbors as foes, this can always happen.”
Act Now Baltimore operates as a network of faith-based community hubs in each of Baltimore’s 14 Council Districts. Members of the organization work together to assure Baltimore’s political leaders are accountable, credible and transparent to the people they serve. Since the mass shooting on July 2, ACT Now has been on the ground, helping those who were affected by the tragic event cope and heal.
While residents are having their holistic needs addressed with food giveaways and free counseling resources, law enforcement officers in Baltimore and Philadelphia are busy arresting individuals suspected of involvement in mass shootings that occurred around the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
On July 7, members of Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) Homicide and SWAT team arrested a 17-year-old male, after obtaining a search warrant and examining his residence.
Mayor Brandon M. Scott released a statement on the day of the arrest, thanking those who helped with bringing in the suspect and assuring the people of Baltimore that more will be done.
“Bringing the perpetrators of this horrific crime to justice is our number one priority, and I want to thank everyone who had a hand in bringing this person of interest in. I am confident that this investigation will continue diligently working through every single tip, lead, and suspect,” said Scott.
The suspected teen was transported to the Central Booking Intake Facility, where he is facing several charges, including possession of a firearm by a minor, possession of an assault weapon, carrying a handgun in a vehicle and reckless endangerment.
BPD did not charge the suspect with murder and mentioned their investigation was ongoing. Thus far, no other arrests have been made. Authorities have not determined a motive for the shooting and the number of suspects involved is not clear. BPD stated that there is a $28,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and charges.
In an unrelated and separate shooting in Philadelphia during the evening of July 3, five people were killed and multiple minors were wounded.
Authorities mentioned that the suspect, 40-year-old Kimbrady Carriker, opened fire on strangers with an AR-15 while wearing body armor. Officers are currently investigating social media for a series of posts by Carriker, about guns, the Second Amendment and the “loss of freedom,” according to law enforcement.
Last month, Carriker shared a contemptuous video of a speech by President Biden and his opinion that Biden was supporting legislation to “take our arms.” In May, Carriker distributed posts from pro-gun advocates in support of the Second Amendment and former President Donald Trump.
As of July 12, 2023 there have been at least 374 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a ‘mass shooting’ as an occurrence where at least four people are shot, not including the shooter.