PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – City leaders, community leaders and Pittsburgh police officers came together Tuesday morning for an impromptu press conference to denounce the recent gun violence across the area.
“We cannot become numb, we cannot accept this as our new reality,” said Tim Stevens, CEO of The Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP). “Life is valuable and you cannot take a life over drugs or tennis shoes or stupid stuff.”
Police say officers responded to seven shootings over the weekend, and the community helped them solve six.
“The two things I don’t want to see on my pager are a shooting and an officer injured,” said Chief Scott Schubert, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. “Every shooting is one too many shootings.”
The protests lasted for weeks following the shooting death of Antwon Rose II at the hands of an East Pittsburgh Police Officer, but Stevens said no protests gathered after this weekend’s intense violence.
“As intense and outrageous as our reactions might be and have been to the absolutely unnecessary and tragic death of Antwon Michael Rose II, we must also show that same level of upset when African-Americans are shot and killed at the hands of black people,” said Stevens.
Esther Bush, the CEO of The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, said she watched the reports of this weekend’s violence with tears streaming down her face.
“Our society is changing and you and I have to find a way to be a part of the solution, not to read not to listen to the news and shake our heads and ask, ‘What is our world coming to?’ What are you allowing our world coming to?” said Bush.
Pittsburgh NAACP’s president Richard Stewart Jr. said, “this can be done.”
“I’m serious. But, we have to start today. Okay?” said Stewart Jr. “It’s a crying shame that all these lives are lost and all these families are destroyed– for what? That gun? Once that bullet leaves the chamber you can’t pull it back.”