Alarming youth violence increase, Milwaukee leaders demand action

The number of kids being shot in Milwaukee is rising, and so are the numbers of kids identified as suspects in both fatal and non-fatal shootings. The recent violence prompted a press conference on Friday, July 28, at Sherman Park.

Community leaders say it starts in the home. Parents need to be parents, not friends with their kids. There's a real concern that a generation is being lost to violence that stems from arguments with different cliques, and instead of taking it out with words, guns are being drawn and fired.

"Mothers, stop waiting until you become on this side, to get on our side, to make a difference," said LaPorche Kimber, who son was killed in 2019. "Because you know what your children are out here doing."

Children need their parents involved, and if parents are not willing to step up, there are organizations that can help.

"Bring them somewhere, because where they are, is not working," said Kathy Thornton, the president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

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The press conference happened at Sherman Park, a noteworthy location. On Tuesday, July 25, a 16-year-old was shot and wounded at the park after a fight between groups of kids.

"It is unreal to have so much violence involving our kids," said Milwaukee County Sheriff Denita Ball.

The Milwaukee police and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office say too often, kids have easy access to guns in the home. Guns are passed between friends and then taken to places like parks, where slights on social media turn into real-life violence. Authorities said there's only so much law enforcement and community groups that try to stop the violence can do.

 "What are our children doing? What is going on in our respective homes, respective neighborhoods," said Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman. "No child should be carrying a firearm."

According to the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission, through June 12 of this year, the percentage of child homicide victims has been increasing over the past four years. That data shows in 2023, 17% of all homicides in the city involved kids, and 14% of homicide suspects were kids.

"The behavior that's happening, in our public spaces, in our neighborhoods, it has to stop, and it begins with us," said Ashanti Hamilton the director of the Office of Violence Prevention.