CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A member of Charleston’s City Council is expressing concerns over gun violence, particularly on the West Side. This is in light of the double homicide earlier this month.
Councilmember Deanna McKinney handed out packets to those at Monday night’s meeting.
It includes pictures of the lives lost to gun violence and social media posts about how it’s affecting the community.
“We have a drug epidemic but we also have a gun violence epidemic,” said McKinney. 12 people in the city of Charleston have lost their lives to gun violence in 2021. Nine of those are the results of homicide. “As sad as that is, the silver lining in that is that we’ve been able to solve eight of those,” said Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt.
Hunt says the relationship with police and the community has improved, and they are working on getting extra patrolling on the West Side. “We have also authorized overtime for saturation patrols to increase the police presence on the West Side even more,” added Hunt.
But for McKinney, it’s a personal matter:
“I lost my child, my only son to gun violence. So when I come to council, and I’m speaking on these issues, it’s not to be causing problems or conflict. It’s my pain. It’s my hurt. It’s the frustration because I’m watching something constantly happen but nobody is addressing it.”
She says Charleston needs a bigger plan of action to tackle the issue, “Whenever gun violence happens there’s no resources to help correct the bad decisions that were made,” added McKinney.
“We need a little extra care, a little help, a little extra love from everybody in this community to get out and get this community back to where it should be,” said Tasha Baldwin, a West Side resident.
“Just one life at a time, that’s all we have to do. Try to change one life, at a time.”Deanna McKinney, Charleston City Council Memeber
To ensure the safety of those in the Charleston community. “Whatever it takes to make sure we can give the folks on the west side, or anywhere in Charleston the piece of mind to sleep soundly at night, we’re going to do it. We’re going to give you all we got,” added Chief Hunt.
McKinney suggests to help curb gun violence is by adding extra lighting to the West Side’s streets. Chief Hunt says the city and American Electric Power are working together to see what areas are most needed for the lighting.