Activist community

Community activists respond to gun violence in Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Lexington police investigated three separate shootings that occurred early Saturday morning.

At 2:28 a.m., officers arrived at the 400 block of Oak Street for a victim who had been shot. Upon arrival, they found a woman with a gunshot wound to the head.

The victim was taken to hospital and police say she has non-life threatening injuries.

Later that morning, Lexington police were dispatched to the 1100 block of Briarwood Circle for a report of gunshots at 6:12 a.m. Upon arrival, they located a female victim with a bullet wound to her leg.

The victim was taken to hospital with reported non-life-threatening injuries.

These incidents also follow directly on the heels of a shooting near Wild Health Field. That shooting happened around 2 a.m. Saturday morning and left seven victims hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Lexington Legends canceled their doubleheader against Wild Health Genomes on Saturday, saying their thoughts and prayers are with the victims of all shootings.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers spoke about the series of shootings at a Saturday afternoon news conference outside police headquarters.

“We’re going to do our job, but people have to say they’ve had enough,” said Chief Weathers.

Bryna Reed has worked with the Lexington BUILD activist group for 15 years. She sits on their violence steering committee they formed in 2015.

“At that time we were concerned because we had moved on to I think there were fifteen homicides in Lexington,” Reed said.

It was then that they discovered the Group Violence Intervention Strategy, an effort to reduce violent crime. Reed says they pushed to bring GVI in Lexington for the past six years.

“I’ve seen two police chiefs say no and two mayors say no. When people bring us a product, we look at it. We embrace it with open arms, but I can’t take their word for it,” said GVI Chief Weathers.

In a statement to WKYT on Saturday, Mayor Linda Gorton said in part “There are no simple answers to be found in theories that have not been effective in other theories…I have not seen no tangible evidence that the GVI program has had an impact on delinquency”.

“It’s not a theory. It’s a fact. It’s been statistically proven to work and that’s what we need at Lexington,” Reed said.

Reed believes that if Lexington fully implemented GVI, it could do more than just make Lexington a safer city.

“Because we have such a great police department, we could be a model for other cities to look up to say, ‘wow, we need GVI too,'” Reed said.