Emotions run high at anti-violence meeting - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Emotions run high at anti-violence meeting

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

People in Springfield are calling for action after three murders in one week.

Wednesday night, they met at the Spring of Hope Church on Alden Street.

Parenting, policing and even prayer - that's what this community is calling for after a particularly violent week.

"It's really sad to have parents burying their children," said Felicia Wheeler, of Springfield.

Wheeler knows that pain too well.

"He was about to graduate," she said of her son, a murder victim.

Her 16-year-old son, Tyrel, was gunned down in 2011 as he sat in his car.

"He had potential, he had a good heart," Wheeler said.

Her cousins were also two of those killed last week.

Emotions and anger ran high throughout the meeting where multiple family members of murder victims stood up.

A memorial on Walnut Street is where just one of three murders happened last week.

Police say there were multiple witnesses to the shooting but so far no one has stepped forward to identify who was behind the trigger.

"There's people in that crowd, probably 200 people there that know exactly who did this and they need to be part of the solution," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Since last week, patrols have been increased in areas reported to have high drug activity.

But Sarno says the solution lies deeper.

"We need family, and it really stems back to parenting."

Residents had suggestions of their own, and frustrations.

"I was informed they don't have the manpower to enforce a curfew, but it baffles me how we have the manpower to continue to buy chalk for the outlines of our children's bodies," said Veronica Mcnair, of Springfield.

For Wheeler and these families who have all lost someone, the meeting is a wake-up call.

"To have to go to two funerals in one week or to have a death in one month and there's three different shootings ... we're mad, we're mad and we're tired. we're mourning, we're all mourning together," Wheeler said.

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