New resources offered for youth after uptick of Gun Violence in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Mayor Domenic Sarno led a working meeting today with city organization leaders to discuss their ongoing efforts on combating gun violence in the city. They also addressed the fatal shooting that left 52-year-old Kim Fairbanks and now her 10-year-old granddaughter dead.
“it just keeps getting worse every year,” said Mark St. John, whose mother-in-law lives in Springfield.
“It’s not guns that kill people it’s people that pick the guns up and shoot people,” said St. John.
City leaders holding a meeting Thursday, as Springfield hit a record number of 23 homicides so far in 2023.
“Have we had a tough couple of weeks? Has it been a challenging summer with this national epidemic of gun violence? Yes, it has been in the city of Springfield.”
Western Mass News also learned that the 10-year-old girl, injured in Monday’s deadly shooting died Thursday.
She was transported to Boston Children’s Hospital earlier this week.
The shooting also killed the girl’s grandmother 52-year-old Kim Fairbanks.
A second granddaughter was shot but was released from the hospital and a third grandchild, a 5-year-old boy, was not injured.
Before the news broke of the young girls passing, leaders shared their thoughts on the tragedy.
“I am so distraught because I just supported this family whose one Monday the mother was murdered. I supported them as well and also the little girl, it’s not good. This is what we do to support families,” said Francena Brown, Executive Director of Families Against Violence.
Meanwhile, various non-profits shared their efforts on how to combat violence in Springfield starting with the youth.
“We’re going to start to do a universal membership where youth will be able to wherever neighborhood they live in they will be able to use our organizations whether they are part of the South End, they can go to the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club,” said Wes Jackson, a Director of South End Community Center.
“If you have any younger individuals that need these types of services whether it be employment whether it be overall behavioral change whether it just be a place to go, where we can help them think differently and disrupt any negative thought process, send them to Roca,” said Solomon Baymin, Director of Western Mass for Roca in Springfield.
A community resource guide has also been developed, aimed to help keep young people busy and safe.
“The mayor has given us resources we’re going to use them to the best of our ability and if we give that child that youth a second chance just like I got, I really hope that everyone in here is willing to do that,” said Springfield Deputy Police Chief, Lawrence Akers.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno also released a statement about the death of the 10-year-old girl who died Thursday it reads:
“As a father of two daughters, there are no words to express my feelings about this tragic loss of life. A brave and bright angel... has been taken away all too soon from her family. Let her legacy be a clarion call to all of us to redouble our efforts in her memory to do everything we can to end these senseless acts of violence. May God rest her soul.”
This group of community leaders is expected to continue meeting as new solutions are put in place. A list of the resources that were referred to in the city meeting are listed below.
Boys and Girls Club Family Center: www.bgcfamilycenter.org
Families Against Violence
Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services: www.mlkjrfamilyservices.org
New North Citizens Council: www.newnorthcc.org
Open Pantry Community Services, Inc.: www.openpantry.org
Restoration City Church: www.myrestorationcity.com
Roca Inc: www.rocainc.org
South End Community Center: www.seccspringfield.com
The Mission Inc.: www.missioninc.org
YMCA of Greater Springfield: www.springfieldy.org
Behavioral Health Network: www.bhninc.org
Springfield Department of Health and Human Services: www.springfield-ma.gov/hhs/
Mayor’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion: www.springfield-ma.gov.cos/mayor/office-of-diversity-equity-inclusion
Springfield Police Department: springfieldmapolice.com or text a tip to CRIMES (2-7-4-6-3-7)
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