Officials, community members lead call to action to end gun violence

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Families who've lost loved ones to gun violence came together in West Philadelphia Friday in search of answers to put an end to it.

"No young person has to grow up like this. This is ridiculous that we're here," said State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta of District 181.

The event was organized by former State Representative Movita Johnson, who had the terrible misfortune of losing two sons, Charles and Donte Johnson, to gun violence.

Both of them were victims of mistaken identity, officials say.

Before his death, Donte Johnson warned that he was an endangered species. His sister says Friday would have been his birthday.

"Happy birthday Donte, we love and miss you," said Charlene Johnson tearfully.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw had a message for those continuing the never-ending spiral of violence.

"Put down the guns. How much more can you take? Leave that old life behind. Move forward now," said Outlaw.

But just minutes after the last speech was given, a 19-year-old man was shot multiple times in the chest on the 1800 block of Mohican Street.

The teen, whose identity remains unknown, was transported to Einstein Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner says former state rep. Movita Johnson couldn't attend because she was in California trying to create a national movement against gun violence after her son was killed there.

"A grassroots movement against gun violence, in Philadelphia, in LA, in Chicago," said Krasner.

A friend of Donte Johnson worries about his future as a young black man amid these statistics.

"I am a husband. I'm a father to a 6-year-old son named Ayden, a 5-year-old son named Isaiah, and a 1-year-old daughter named Aaliyah. I am also an endangered species," said Kent Montford.

Sadly, one woman said, every day, a family member becomes a part of those statistics that nobody wants to join.
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