Teens talk about ending violence in Indy

Stopping City Youth Violence
Violent weekend involving teens

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Brandon Warren feels some trepidation as he walks across the large commercial parking lot near 38th and Moeller.

"It's hard very hard," he said. "I rarely come out here. This is the first time I'm so close to it."

So close to the area where fellow Warren Central football player Dijon Anderson and classmate Angel Mejia two years ago.

"It's devastating to think of the moments and to picture your friends being out here with bullets in them waiting for the ambulance to come and rescue them" Warren said.

Mejia was pronounced dead at the scene. Anderson died two weeks later at Indianapolis hospital.

Warren said, "the last words I told him were I love you and the last words I told myself leaving intensive care was I got to do something."

Warren Started We LIVE Indy, which stands for Linked to Intercept Violence Everywhere, a way for teens to speak out...to push for peace and unity. And yet the job seems to get tougher.

Referring to the recent teen violence...the carjacking on the near east side and the four people wounded downtown (all but one under the age of 18) Warren said, "you want to go and tell them like 'hey, look my friend was gunned down two years ago today and if he had the opportunity to take it all back and not be in the same situation, he would. This is not the place you want to end up.'"

What can be done to curb teen violence? Warren said not just more programs or jobs for teens, but more role models.

"There's not enough people stepping up and saying I'm going to join a mentor organization, I'm going to help influence young people's lives," he said. "Ultimately, what can we do as a city to help these young people?"

Warren also believes there has to be a greater emphasis on mental health.

"I believe trauma exists in all shooters...and it starts in the home," he said. "What can we do to support mental health, to give them counseling and resources and dig down to the real grass roots issues of what causes cause them to be violent criminals."

He also believes city leaders need to "talk to our young people...because you ultimately can't resolve these issues if you're not asking how can we help you. Too many times they're trying to resolve issues without bringing us to table."

Looking across the parking lot where he lost two friends, Warren said, "for me, this is a reality check and often times our young people aren't having enough reality checks....They hear about the violence.. but they're not seeing it.

"When I come here I see the violence happening because in my head I picture my (friends laying) on the ground and I would do anything in my life to go back and change that."

"Justice hasn't been served," Warren added.

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