Newark leaders call for new steps to end violence

Toni Yates reports from Elizabeth, New Jersey
December 30, 2013 2:23:59 PM PST
People in Newark gathered Monday for an event aimed at stopping violence, after a wave of shootings that has killed six people in and around the city since Christmas Day.

"I want to thank everyone for their support. I want justice," said Alnisa Reeds, Kasson's mother said.

15-year-old Kasson Morman's mother and father stood with the bravery Monday to call for an end to the violence.

They mourned their son and feel for the children who are left to live with the agony.

"It hurts me to see these kids crying about losing a friend. This has got to stop," said Richard Morman, Kasson's father.

It's the first time they've spoken publicly since the Christmas day shooting that took their 15-year-old son's life, as he was sitting on a porch with friends on Schley Street.

It was a spray of bullets that also killed 13-year-old Zainee Hailey, as she was taking out the garbage.

They were innocent victims of someone else's violent intentions. They were not the targets.

Zainee's grandfather tried to make a plea this weekend to the shooters.

"Let's put the guns down, turn yourself in," said Michael Peterson, Zainee's grandfather.

"We're in the midst of an epidemic. Newark has had 110 murders in the South Ward," said Shavar Jeffries, candidate for mayor.

Hopeful politicians called the event, and neighbors say efforts need to happen before guns become the answer.

"You got kids with nothing to do. They're in the street. What next? Trouble," said Thomas Graham, a Newark resident.

On Christmas morning, three people were shot and killed outside a bar in nearby Irvington. The victims included the son of the bar's owner and a bouncer.

Newark has seen an overall jump in homicides in 2013, with over 100 this year. The last time the city reached double digits in murders was 2006, according to police department statistics.