City, school and faith leaders gathered at the University of Baltimore Thursday to explore solutions for the recent uptick in gun violence among the city’s youth. WYPR’s news partner, the Baltimore Banner, co-hosted the discussion with WJZ-TV.
As a victim of gun violence, attending the town hall was personal for Michelle Hines.
Two months ago, her son, Izaiah Carter, 16, was shot in the head near Patterson High School, where he was a student. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Hines expressed the concern many parents share regarding the need for greater school security. “How can I know that when my children go to high school they’re going to be safe? How do I know that an adult isn’t going to be able to get to their campus?”
Authorities arrested and apprehended Roger Mendoza, 23, in Texas where he fled. They say he fired a round into Izaiah’s head on Mar. 6. This year alone, 73 minors have been shot and 19 have died, according to police.
“Where is the security? Why not outsource? Why isn’t there people patrolling with all these egregious acts?” Hines asked.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison extended his condolences and welcomed the idea of increasing patrols around schools.
“Baltimore City Schools has its own police department that has jurisdiction on the campuses,” said Harrison. “The police department has jurisdiction on the campus as well. So we work well together,” he added.
“But that’s a good point that you bring up. We could maybe think about adding another layer of security beyond what the city police [and] school police can do. But it’s always about resources.”