Clergy, police hope for big turnout for gun buyback event during cease fire weekend

File photo of an IMPD car at a crime scene. (WTHR Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Back-to-back shootings this week has community leaders urging even more people to participate in a cease fire this weekend.

Gun violence in Indianapolis has left someone injured or killed every day in a one-week period.

The Marion County Coroner's Office has been working non-stop doing notifications this week. In one case, it could be next week before a cause of death is determined to the latest victim of deadly violence.

The coroner notified the family of Dewitt Dupree, 27, that he did not survive gunfire during a violent shooting. Metro Police officers responded to shots fired on the city’s east side and called for emergency medical responders after locating Dupree in a car suffering from at least one gunshot wound. Paramedics rushed him from Emerson Avenue and 19th Street to the hospital where he passed away.

“In my mind, this is a crisis when you continue to see six shootings on Thursday and then we had four more shootings,” said Pastor David Greene. “This is a crisis that has to be addressed."

Greene and other local clergy, along with law enforcement officials, hope to help address the gun violence with an opportunity for people to get rid of weapons and keep them out of the wrong hands.

Pastor Greene was live on the "Community Connection" radio show hosted by veteran Indianapolis journalist Tina Cosby. He urged people to stop shooting each other and exchange their weapons for cash gift cards.

“It's time that we get those guns, as many as possible, off the street. So you need that Christmas money, let's turn in that gun and get that Christmas money and we will be safer and we will be better,” said Greene.

During the radio show, Greene explained that participants should bring their guns unloaded and allow local law enforcement officers to retrieve them from their glove compartments or trunks.

“That’s a great idea,” said Cosby, “because you don’t want to walk up to an event like this with a gun in your hand.”

Organizers will ask for identification for those receiving gift cards so they can account for the money being given out as cash gift cards. Law enforcement will not ask questions about any of the weapons, according to Greene. The more high-powered weapons will land participants a larger amount of money. Most of the weapons handed over during the previous events have been handguns.

“If we keep one weapon out of the hands of the wrong person who might use it to settle an argument, it’s worth having a gun buyback,” said Greene.

The buyback organizers handed out $20,000 last year during the cease fire weekend and they're prepared to do the same this year. The Gun Buyback is Saturday (Dec. 7) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Messiah Baptist Church located at 5640 East 38th St. in Indianapolis. The program is open to anyone in the metro area wanting to help get weapons off the street.

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