ATLANTA - Local leaders and the loved ones of victims loss to violence are gathering in southwest Atlanta to fight crime in Atlanta.
The City Wide Summit Against Crime kicked off Saturday morning at the Victory Outreach Church on Metropolitan Parkway.
Organizers said the summit was prompted by several recent violent crimes in southwest Atlanta, including the November murder of 2-year-old Ty-Teyanna Motley. She was sleeping inside of a home in Poplar Place when someone fired shots through the front door, killing her and injuring her 1-year-old brother.
“It is very clear that we have a gang problem in Atlanta,” said former Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman. “The recent murder of the business owner in West End, the shotgun shooting into the home at Lakewood Villas (and) the killing of an innocent child in the Polar Rock community are signs that if we don’t deal with this issue immediately, Atlanta can expect a bloodbath in the days to come.”
Boazman identified one solution was encouraging residents to reach out to area youth, who are at risk of becoming thugs.
"We know what happens to our children from 8 (a.m.) to 3 (p.m.), but it's what happens from 3 (p.m.) to 8 (p.m.) that bothers us. So (we've) got to look at programs that are working that people can enroll their children in," he told Channel 2's Sophia Choi.
"We have to get young people to stop and get them to understand that the consequences result in people's death, incarceration and it's just not a viable option," added attorney Mawuli Davis.
Levert Forrest is expected to speak about the shooting that claimed the life of his brother, boxing champion Vernon Forrest, who was killed in 2009 by a would-be carjacker at a south Atlanta gas station.
One woman was among the many, who gave an emotional story --hers ending with the loss of three sons to gun violence.
"All three of my son's were killed," she said, noting her youngest child died, just four months ago.
Organizers are planning more events to prevent future stories of gun deaths from being told.