As investigators in Youngstown pour over evidence in a deadly shootout Tuesday on the north side, local leaders are planning a Crime-Free Zone rally this weekend.
The rally was planned before this latest violence but couldn’t come at a better time.
A one-block stretch on Youngstown’s north side was the scene of a gun battle Tuesday that ended with one man dead.
Several hours before that shooting, a woman was shot in the hip as she stood by a car in the parking lot of the ESA apartments on the city’s east side.
A man was also found shot to death inside a car parked on Pasadena Avenue over the weekend.
The rally planned for Saturday, April 13, is part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Four separate events will happen simultaneously at campuses in the Youngstown City School District: Harding Elementary, Taft Elementary, East High School and McGuffey Elementary.
“All the leaders are on board. Throw out all those political titles, throw out all of those things that will try and divide us. We are coming together to tell crime and poverty and things of that nature you gotta go,” said Chris Gunther, committee member for A Crime-Free Zone.
Several speakers are planned for the event including Vondale Eugene Singleton, Sr., founder of C.H.A.M.P.S. (a Chicago-based mentoring program for young men); Jose Morales, Sr., former Youngstown Police Department detective and George Spencer, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Area MAD DADS.
Born and raised in Youngstown, Gunther said he is troubled by some of the things he sees and wants to help. He said it’s not just the homicides and shootings but also the domestic violence, poverty and other social issues.
“It’s the mindset. We have to change the mindset here in this community,” Gunther said.
The Crime-Free Zone event will also include fun activities for children. it is free and open to the public.