Leaders Look to Lessen Gun Violence

Published 05/24 2012 04:53PM

Updated 05/24 2012 06:42PM

CHAMPAIGN -- Another person is dead; the victim of an accidental shooting. Police say gun violence has become an unexpected problem. Local leaders met this morning to talk. WCIA-3's Jessica Shaw has more on how leaders plan to handle the increased violence.
    They say the first step is reaching out to the community, since gun deaths can be prevented, and accidents can happen to anyone.
    "All of a sudden 'boom,' then he fell to the floor."
    22-year old Chris Baker accidentally shot himself in the face.
    "He thought it wasn't loaded, he was just goofing off."
    But, hours later, Baker was dead.
    "I didn't think it would happen in my house, to me, or to Chris."
    This kind of accident has city leaders worried. It's the third one in eight days. It's why Champaign police called a meeting with community members and other departments in the area.
    "I cannot ever  think of a time in my law enforcement career, which has been in my community for the last three years, where the deaths were preventable."
    "It's not like it was a bad guy trying to hurt somebody. These are just stupid accidents with young people with guns."
    The group is calling on people to be smart when it comes to firearms.
    "You see a lot of things that kind of glamorize guns, or video games our children play. Recognize this is not a game. You don't get a new life when you die."
    Police say there's more than one victim in these situations.
    "People should know how dangerous guns are and use common sense."
    That's the message police want to send. They'll be out talking to schools and summer camps educating people on gun safety.
    Baker's death is the most recent. It happened yesterday on Tudor Court in Champaign.
    20-year old Torrie Smedley was also killed this past Sunday. That was at Champaign's Country Brook Apartments.
    3-year old Mehki Woods was accidentally shot by his teenage uncle last Wednesday in Urbana.

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