Many in the community are still reeling from word that a 12-year-old boy was shot at a funeral home during a service on Saturday. Later, police said they had arrested a teenager in connection with the shooting.
“It’s so disheartening first of all a 12 year old and then to find out that a 15 year is accused of doing it, ” says Reverend Chester Ellis. “And the question that automatically pops up – where are they getting these guns from? You know, there’s got to be an adult attached to some of this stuff somewhere and in order for us to heal we’ve got to find out all the root causes.”
Ellis is part of the Savannah Alliance of Pastors, a group of 58 ministers who announced effort two months to try to curb violence.
Ellis says the group has met with the school district and social service agencies. “Because we feel that we have to take care of the whole family, we want to take a holistic approach to getting folks to get into counseling and get into critical thinking skills as well as mediation and conflict resolution and things of that nature and see if we can’t cut off some of this violence. Poverty is an issue, it’s one of those things that we need to work on.”
Ellis also believes the entire community has to show support for a solution. “We need everyone to see because these incidents are not isolated,” he told us. “If there is no hope, then we are we going?”
Late Monday, a group of friends of the family of the 12-year-old along with community members rallied near Memorial Hospital where the boy remains in critical condition.