‘It’s just been constant’: Community leaders beg for change as gun deaths climb

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The deaths toll continues to rise in Lansing, leaving the mix of anger and fear palpable in the air.

There have been 15 homicides in 2021 alone — nearly half of the victims teenagers.

Some community leaders say the city needs to reprioritize its funds, while Mayor Andy Schor says he and his constituents are working every day to try and make Lansing safer.

That’s not enough for the founder of The Village Lansing — a non-profit designed at helping put teenagers on a path to success — Mike Lynn.

“The city of Lansing is tight,” Lynn said, fighting back tears. “We know everybody so every time a young person is killed, somebody knows somebody.

“It’s just been constant.”

Three more gun deaths this weekend including two teens have Lynn saying it’s heartbreaking, but unfortunately not a surprise.

“This is what I’ve been crying about the last year and a half and their priorities have been vrey apparent,” Lynn ssaid. “IT’s not the young people, it’s not the kids, it’s not our community — it’s more directed toward downtown development and parties and social districts.”

Just up the street from Lynn’s non-profit, Michael McKissic founded Mikey 23 — a foundation in honor of his son who was killed by gun violence in 2015. It pays teens to work with their hands rebuilding homes and gives them real world experience that can help get jobs.

McKissic says there’s a need for more of this in the community, but this problem goes beyond that.

“All of us need to come in that same page and unite and come together to save our youth,” he said. “Because what we’re doing now, going in separate directions, is not working.”

Lynn and McKissic both say the city needs more activities for the youth to keep them on the right path.

Mayor Andy Schor says he’s upset about the continuous violence and today he created the gun violence task force solely dedicated to solving the city’s gun violence problem.

“We’re going to be creating a task force to bring together all the pieces of the puzzle,” Schor said. “We’re going to see how these pieces can all work together, so it’s not just different people doing different things, we’re trying to put it all together into one.”

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