COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After several children, all 7-years-old or younger, were shot in Columbus over the weekend, calls for the violence to stop are growing louder.
A group that meets and marches weekly over the summer is urging people again to put the guns down; the group’s message is it wants all the shootings to stop.
“Any time you get not one baby, but three babies shot over the weekend, the whole city should be out,” said Derrick Russell with Stop The Violence.
The Stop The Violence group started its efforts last year as violence in the city was increasing. With violent crime up again in the city, one of the organizer said it’s frustrating, but it’s also motivation.
“Put down the guns, pick up the love,” Russell said through a megaphone during a rally Monday.
“We want people to understand that gun violence has no room here in Columbus,” he added.
The calls come after a violent weekend. On Saturday night, police said a mom and her 4-year-old child were shot during a shootout that happened in the parking lot of their apartment on Wespot Drive.
“I was upset about it, still upset about it,” Russell said. “We’re going to continue to fight out here to put an end to it.”
Less than 24 hours later, police said a 4-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl were shot during a drive-by in Franklinton Sunday night.
“Now that just fueled it up even more,” Russell said. “I’m like, ‘What? When is this going to come to an end.’”
“My heart goes out to those kids because even if they weren’t the target, their life has been forever changed,” said North Central Area Commission member Tiffany White.
Russell is the founder of Columbus, Ohio, Stop The Violence. This is the second year his group has organized weekly events on Monday nights during the summer to call for peace and connect families with resources. While the group usually gathers in Linden, they’ve gotten together in other parts of the city before and he said the message needs to be heard citywide.
“We all should feel the same amount of pain and that’s why we should collaborate and stay together,” Russell said.
All three of the children shot over the weekend are expected to recover from their injuries.
The Stop The Violence group plans to gather again next week.