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'This has to stop today': Community pressures city leaders to stop gun violence in Columbus

On August 24, the city will bring in two people from out-of-state to explain how anti-violence solutions in their cities could work here.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In February, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther declared gun violence in the city a public health crisis.

By doing so, he charged Columbus Public Health to seek out solutions on how to reduce the number of people killed by gun violence.

Nearly five months later the city doesn't have an answer yet, but it's working to see what can work. 

Community leaders say they want the city to find programs that are evidence-based. In short, what works.

On Tuesday, Columbus CARE Coalition which helps neighborhoods cope with trauma, and Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children spoke at a Columbus Board of Health meeting about how their programs are addressing some of the needs. But both admit more needs to be done.

On Saturday night, a single mother of a 5-year-old girl was shot and killed at the corner of East Broad Street and James Road.

Melissa Duross was her best friend.

"She's only 30 years old, you know, she had her whole life ahead of her. That wasn't fair to take her life at 30 years old," Duross said.

On Saturday night just before 9 p.m., Duross says King came to get some snacks when gunfire erupted.

Duross was told by someone from the store that "They stated that the argument started in the store, and it ended up outside," she said.

Police said Leila had nothing to do with the argument and was in the wrong place when the bullets started to fly.

Duross said police found King in her car.

"I'm lost for words. I'm hurt and I'm angry. They need to stop using the guns for violence. They need to stop using the guns to harm others," she said.

She's calling out city leaders to act.

"This has to stop today. Somebody has to do something to stop this gun violence," she said

Next month, Columbus Public Health plans to bring two speakers from out-of-state to talk about how anti-violence solutions in their cities, could work here.

So far this year, Columbus has recorded 75 homicides.

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