ANDERSON, Ind. — Neighbors from Marion County trying to decrease gun violence gave a helping hand to community members in Anderson who are worried about the same thing.
Members of Indy's Ten Point Coalition partnered up with Anderson clergy and community leaders for their first public safety walk Friday.
The route they walked weaved through some of the highest crime areas in the Madison County city. Their goal was to make Anderson a safer place.
"I would never think in a million years I would have gotten the phone call, 'Your 13-year-old son has been shot,'" said Shanae Tellis, whose son was shot in the leg Oct. 3 in Anderson. "It was chaotic," she said. "It was nothing I've ever seen before."
Tellis said while she was shocked something like this would happen to her son, she was not surprised that it happened in Anderson.
"A lot of these young kids are getting ahold of guns now. I don't know how or where but a lot of young kids are carrying guns" said Tellis.
Anderson community leaders and members of Indy's Ten Point Coalition hoped the "boots on the ground" approach would decrease violence by reaching out to youth and building relationships.
"There's been several shootings. It's weekly at this point. Ten years ago, it was very rare in this area," said organizer Jason Fullington.
Pastor Charles Harrison with the Indy Ten Point Coalition said it's all about the power of presence and influence.
"They say the dope boy, they see the gangs and they become an influence in their life. Well, you got to have someone else out there to counter that. If they're on the street every day, then we have to be on the street every day," said Harrison.
Meco McWilliams and Tellis believe this is a good start, but they believe it's going to take more than the walk.
"It starts at home. We are definitely not trying to raise him to tote guns," said McWilliams.
"There's nothing for the children to do but be in mischief and trouble. It's really sad. We need something else for the youth to do," said Tellis.