By: Jessica Guay
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Gun violence continues to increase in Pittsburgh and the most recent fatal shootings were in the Hill District.READ MORE: College Students Across Western Pennsylvania Celebrate Commencement In Person
Isaiah Freeman, 17, died at Mercy Hospital after being shot on the 2400 block of Bedford Avenue around 7:40 pm Saturday.
William Lee Sr., 51, was shot in the head outside of Tim’s Bar on Wylie Avenue around 11 p.m. Friday.
Brenda Tate is a lifelong resident of the Hill District and is a former Pittsburgh police officer. She retired in 2014. She said it’s disturbing to see people losing their lives to gun violence in the community she loves.
“I was born and raised in this community, and we never ever have been plagued with this, never have,” said Tate when talking about the Hill District.
We asked Tate what her thoughts were on the uptick in gun violence in her community and other city neighborhoods.
“It’s disturbing. I wish we could get a better handle on it,” Tate said.
Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Safety officials said there have been 21 fatal shootings and around 50 non-fatal shootings in Pittsburgh this year.
“That’s high, that’s very high. When I was working, I’ve never seen those numbers before,” said Tate.READ MORE: 100 Years Of The Double Dip: Kennywood Reopens And Celebrates Milestone For The Jack Rabbit
Tate thinks solving this problem starts with the parents.
“Most people are saying we have to do something with the kids, but you can’t expect kids to do what adults should be doing,” Tate said. “This is more about the parents, this is more about parenting I think, and I think if we found a way to address the entire family when a kid gets caught up in the system. We need to look at the entire family.”
Governor Tom Wolf recently addressed the surge in gun violence in the commonwealth.
“It’s unnecessary, needless, and tragic. It shouldn’t happen anywhere,” Gov. Wolf said.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto joined with other city and community leaders on Monday to call on people to help curb the spike in violence.
“If we simply look at it through the lens of policing or its simply someone else’s problem we will do the same mistakes in the past,” Peduto said.
Tate thinks community policing could help reduce violent crimes.
“It’s not going to take just people making statements in front of a camera, that’s not going to help. It takes getting dirty, you have to get dirty. You have to be out here; you have to be in the community. Policing has to be in the community, people have to be comfortable and trust you,” said Tate.
Many people in the community continue to fight for change. Tate thinks people really need to come together to make a difference.MORE NEWS: First Week Of Landmark Trial Against Opioid Distributors In West Virginia Comes To An End
“It’s going to be a hard journey, but we have to be willing to take that hard journey, not for the ones today but for the young people that are coming up after us, we have to leave them something better,” she said.