Gun violence town hall following 2 homicides: ‘It needs to stop’

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Nearly 150 people from the Muskegon area are tackling an issue that has taken two lives in two weeks: gun violence.

Teenagers Zamarian Cooper, 16, and Mervin Bonner, 18, recently lost their lives to gun violence in Muskegon. Police are still searching for suspects in both cases.

Corinthians Missionary Baptist Church in Muskegon Heights opened up their building Thursday night to talk about the issue.

"We cannot arrest our way out of the things that we are faced in this country," said Muskegon Heights Police Chief Michael Thomas, who has been attending these types of town halls throughout the summer.

He hopes through community discussion, the department can prevent crime rather than solve them.

"You cannot pray this away," Thomas said.

Zachary Kennedy attended the town hall, hoping to be a part of the solution. He admits that once he was a part of the problem.

After going to jail for a manslaughter charge, he has made it his mission to educate fellow community members to make the right decisions.

"I came out to see not only how people are trying to help but who is really trying to help," said Kennedy. "I am from this. I am from the same struggle, the same community."

Leaders from throughout the community attended the town hall from the school district, county offices, local government and even federal government.

"We need to solve this as a community," said Muskegon Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Cortez. "This is a mentality that is allowed to exist because of conversations that aren't taking place."

The series of town halls have been possible through grants and other partnerships within the community.

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  • lml25

    St.Louis has had 9 black kids under 10 years old killed since April, because gangs were shooting at adults,but missed. On the news tonight a building full of blacks appeared at a town hall meeting to yell at the police–“YOU AIN’T STOPPIN’ THIS.”
    They should be yelling at themselves–don’t you think?It’s THEIR kids that are doing the shooting and killing.
    The police should have said,”No,YOU’RE not stopping this.”

  • Rj

    If people really cared about this they have to look inward because it all starts at the home. Guns are not the problem it’s a people problem. Youth today have no respect for life and could care less about their neighbor. Keep letting your kids smoke dope and let them keep listening to violent music which is destructive along with full days playing violent video games which people claim has no effect on youth yet the last 2 shooter in Texas and Dayton said they spent up to 12 hrs a day on them. Muskegon has had this problem for decades and until the kids are dealt with this will never stop along with the guns that flow into these communities from Chicago and Benton harbor.

  • Rj

    1536 people shot so far this year in Chicago with 310 dead. That’s almost 39 people a month killed yet nothing is ever done. will open your eyes to the war zone that is Chicago and run by people who could care less.

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