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TPD gun violence forum focuses on solutions, youth programs

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Posted at 10:24 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 23:27:12-04

TAMPA, Fla — Friday wasn't a normal day for the folks at the East Side Deli in Tampa. But then again, when it comes to the owner— Eric Adams—there's nothing normal about his story either.

Adams says he wrote out a master plan for his life and one to help his community, while behind bars more than a decade ago.

So Friday, it only made sense to him to open up his parking lot to the community for a forum on curbing gun violence.

"Like right now it's kind of hard for the people to deal with the people who's already committing the crimes, so I feel like we need to catch the next generation of teens coming up," he said.

It's a possible solution shared over and over.

"I want to see some type of intervention, some type of program available for the youth around here," said Aubrey Pierce who lives in Tampa.

And leaders who attended say they're listening and looking into offering some youth programs at low-to-no cost. They also say they're going to do a better job at advertising existing youth programs in the community.

Moving forward Tampa Police Chief Mary O'Connor says the department wants more of these forums—to help bring the community together and to rebuild trust.

"I keep telling TPD officers to make sure every encounter is the one that you could potentially turn that mistrust around," she said.

And Adams? He says he's looking forward to seeing more of the words spoken at these events turn into actual change in the community.

"Until you put a plan in action and in place, it's just going to continue to be gibberish," he said.

To help things move beyond lip service TPD says they're also holding a gun buy-back event next Saturday at two locations in the city. And they're paying $100 per gun.

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