'Lifestyle of murder and death'

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 30 at 5:41 PM

NEW ORLEANS - The murder of little Londyn Samuels is the latest in a sad series of attacks on children in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans.

They are innocent victims of the violence that plagues their inner-city neighborhood.

"It is a lifestyle of murder and death," said Brother Walter Umrani.

Umrani and his New Orleans Peace Keepers walk the streets of the city's crime hot spots, reaching out to troubled young people and mediating disputes that could easily result in gunfire.

"We're finding that a lot of shootings in the city among our young people are about foolishness that you wouldn't imagine. It could be easily resolved," said Umrani.

Easy to resolve or not, kids are getting killed in Central City at an alarming rate.

There have been four children gunned down there in the past four years: two-year-old Jeremy Galmon in September of 2010; one-year-old Keira Holmes Gordon in December 2011; five-year-old Briana Allen in May 2012 and one-year-old Londyn Samuels, Thursday night.

New Orleans NAACP President Danatus King says finding a way to stop the violence is a matter of survival.

"We see right now, that it's touching not only those who are involved in illegal activities, but we see that that it's impacting even the most innocent of us out here and that's our toddlers, our one-year-olds our two-year-olds," said King. "There is a sense of outrage in the community this morning."

King says better mental health care, jobs and economic opportunity are keys to giving young people an alternative to crime.

"There can be all kind of excuses, why it's happening, but the bottom line is we have to stop it."

Meanwhile, the Peace Keepers say while root causes of violence are not unique to New Orleans, the solutions live in the neighborhoods now under siege.

"We have to solve our own problems," said Umrani. "The power is there. The intelligence is there. The resources are there, we only have to recognize that and not wait for something to fall out of the sky and resolve these issues."

The Peace Keepers say law enforcement needs to do a better job of keeping automatic weapons out of the hands of those who would use the guns as instruments of death on the streets of New Orleans.

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