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Recent shootings encourage community and church leaders to speak out
ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- The shooting that killed Kenteyonna Anderson, 14, marks the sixth shooting in the last 20 weeks. And has some people in the community outraged; begging the question when will the gun violence stop.
Now community leaders and churches are being asked to step up in the fight against violent crime.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Office has kept busy over the last couple of weeks dealing with a series of shootings. When no one came forward with information on those crimes, they said that is what hurts the community most.
Twenty-two people have died this year from gun shots in Escambia County. Kenteyonna Anderson, 14, is the latest victim. Her life was cut short when she was caught in the cross-fire of bullets. She was just a freshman at Pensacola High School.
Community Activist Ellison Bennett said, "It's very shameful that people who know who shot somebody and won't say nothing but yet they'll come to a funeral and cry.
Ellison Bennett is a former sheriff's deputy and an outspoken community activist. He said for some communities, between general distrust in law enforcement, and a 'code silence' that cloaks neighborhoods in the wake of violent crime. This presents an opportunity for local churches to get more involved.
"Ministers that are preaching sermons of hope and goodwill, that need to come to the community because that's where the healing is needed, Bennett said.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Office wants to all it can to end the gun violence, but admits it needs community support which has been hard to come by.
Sheriff Morgan said, "This does not speak well for our community for all the shootings that are occurring, in some instances we have the victims who are aware of who shot them and they are not speaking with us, we have witnesses to those shootings who again are not speaking with us."
If you have any information on any of these shootings you're asked to call crime stoppers at 433-STOP, and remember you can remain anonymous.