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Mayor Seeks Input From Teens After Rash Of Juvenile Murders

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are more questions than answers for families caught in the middle of a string of teen murders. In the last week, three teens were murdered on the streets of Baltimore.

As Gigi Barnett reports, the mayor is speaking out against the violence with a plan to cut crime.

Family members of 14-year-old Najee Thomas spent the night at a vigil, remembering the teen slain in his home Tuesday, and rallying the community for help.

He is the third teen killed this month. Police say they have strong leads into the case, but Thomas’ family is baffled by the motive and the suspect.

“It stops with Najee Thomas. Because this young man had potential, he had a bright future ahead of him,” said his grandfather, Randall Gilliam.

But Thomas isn’t the only one. Seventeen-year-old Michael Mayfield was shot to death in West Baltimore last week, and days earlier, Raysharde Sinclair lost his life in a double stabbing.

Now dozens of homeowners and community leaders look for reasons to the city’s uptick in youth violence at a public safety summit this weekend at Morgan State University.

Neighbors say they want solutions.

“How is this happening?” said Winston-Govans resident Christopher Forrest. “And how are we going to stop it? Who’s going to take the lead? Who’s going to say enough is enough?”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wants those answers, too. She wants residents to closely partner with police to prevent the violence.

“I don’t know how many times I can say it–we’re not going to police our way out of the issue of violence. We’re not going to arrest our way out of it,” the mayor said. “The way that I think we will make dramatic change in our city is through community partnerships. Yes, the police is involved. Yes, every public safety entity has a role to play. But we cannot ignore the role of the community.”

Last year, four Baltimore teens died in violent acts. In the first few months of 2014, that number is already at seven.

The mayor says she wants to hear from teens on the recent youth violence. She plans to host a youth violence forum next month.

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