Coalition Working to Stop Drugs, Gangs on East Side
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The death this week of a 16-year-old girl who was shot while walking on an East Side sidewalk has prompted a call for action in a neighborhood that residents say has become plagued by drugs and gangs.
Shalonda Jackson was shot and killed while walking near 51st and Waldrond on Wednesday afternoon. Police are investigating the shooting, but detectives often say that residents in the area are reluctant to come forward and get involved in solving crimes.
The convenience store near where Jackson was shot is a busy location, which is why crime watch organizer Mark Porter says its hard to believe that no one saw what happened to the teen.
“The community that’s like that is a community under siege,” said Porter. “They are hostages in their own community. Hostages in their own homes. If they refuse to get involved in issues that affect their immediate streets, immediate neighborhoods, they are going to be hostages all their lives.”
Porter says that he can recall at least four killings at that street corner over the years. Police say that gangs and narcotics are problems in the neighborhood, but a new coalition – the Stop the Killing Coalition – is rallying at 2931 Askew on Saturday to show ordinary citizens that they can come together to outnumber and overwhelm the common criminals.
“I just understand that there are much stronger men out here on the streets than there are gangs,” said Trichelle King of the Stop the Killing Coalition. “Once these men decide they want to take their community back and stand up and be men, have these boys put down their guns, that’s the only thing that’s going to stop it.”
Kansas City Missouri Mayor Sly James and other city leaders are expected to attend.