Small prayer group could be start of something big: Clergy combatting violence

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A toddler and two pre-teens are some of the latest victims of gun violence in the city of Milwaukee. Now, there's a group trying to go after not just the shooters, but those who help them hide.

On Wednesday, June 18th, Pastor Darnell Turner led a small group prayer inside Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church that could be the beginning of something big.

"I believe, together, we can make a difference in this community if we all just take a stand," Turner said.

Pastor Turner was joined by like-minded men on Wednesday -- on a mission to snuff out the "no snitching" mentality.

The effort is inspired by 10-year-old Sierra Guyton.

Guyton was seriously hurt after she was shot while playing on the playground near 28th and Clarke in May.

While Guyton served as the initial inspiration, a shooting on Saturday, June 14th  on the city's south side involving a four-year-old boy, and a shooting Sunday, June 15th involving an 11-year-old girl inside the Sparkle Foods convenience store were enough to convince Eddie Hatch to miss work -- rather than miss Wednesday's meeting at the church.

"Those things can wait. This can't, because if one of my children are injured -- the job, and all the other things aren't gonna be important anyway," Hatch said.

"We act in the community. We don't just sit back and watch what's going on," Pastor Turner said.

What's important to these men is getting laws changed to combat the long-standing "no snitching" policy which is so prevalent.

"When you know a person, or suspect a person around you has committed a crime like this, and you do nothing, you're partially responsible for that, in our opinion, and we want the people in the government in the city of Milwaukee to start putting laws in place that go after these people," Hatch aid.

What is starting inside a church on a Wednesday afternoon, with just a small group of men is something that these men hope will spread throughout the city of Milwaukee, as they hope it becomes more popular to protect people from danger, than prosecution.