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Baltimore City Leaders Discuss How To Cut Violence Claiming Young Lives

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Three teens’ lives were cut short by violence in Baltimore City in just eight days. Thursday morning, city leaders spoke out about how to interrupt the violence.

Mike Schuh has the latest.

At the annual African Methodist Episcopal church conference, 700 people filled The Empowerment Temple in Northwest Baltimore.

A total of seven teens have been murdered in Baltimore so far this year. Their deaths dominate the discussion at the church conference.

Who has the answers?

“I believe the church does, but that answer will never get out as long as they are speaking it behind stained glass windows,” said Rev. Jamal Bryant, Empowerment Temple pastor.

“Today I’m announcing my intention to convene a public safety forum specifically focused on youth violence and to talk about what additional resources we can provide to our young people,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

She says teens will be invited to help.

A city native, Councilman Brandon Scott is angry at some who live in this city.

“It’s time for men in this city to step up, to put up or shut up. If you’re a grown man in the city of Baltimore and you know what happened to one of these young men and you’re not saying anything, then you’re not a man,” Scott said.

Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts echoes what Councilman Scott is saying. He believes that the long-term answer will happen one child at a time.

“I talk to people about mentoring young people and a lot of people say ‘Commissioner, I’m not comfortable mentoring 17-year-olds in rebellious stages,’ but nothing stops them from mentoring a 5- or 6-year-old, 7-year-old and showing that child that they have hope,” Batts said.

The mayor will host a youth forum at City Hall on May 13.

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