Gov. Wolf, city officials meet to discuss scourge of gun violence in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia officials sat down Friday to discuss the ongoing gun violence plaguing the city.

"It's tragic when anybody dies of gun violence. It's unnecessary, it's tragic, it shouldn't happen anywhere," Wolf said.

The group, including Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, was called together by State Senator Anthony Williams at the West Philadelphia YMCA.

The area is not far from where incidents of gun violence have caused pain and tempers continue to flare.

Last week, a 28-year-old father was shot and killed and his six-year old-son was injured in an exchange of gunfire off 55th Street and Baltimore Avenue.

"We can no longer from the state just simply send our prayers and money," said state Senator Anthony Williams.

The coalition wants to focus on prevention, intervention and enforcement. On Friday, they gathered to send a message that local and state leaders are again collaborating to find solutions and getting to the root of issues driving the violence.

"The amount of coordinated effort that was given to address the pandemic of coronavirus, must be dedicated to addressing the pandemic of gun violence, that is the only way we are going to see reduction," said state Rep. Joanna McClinton.

Wolf has proposed strict gun reform in the state and called on lawmakers to help in the fight to do so.

"I thought we were making real progress to getting some good legislation, but I think the COVID pandemic, the last 13 months, have put a stop to a lot of good things," Wolf added.

Also trying to restore some of the good are groups like the Black Clergy of Philadelphia.

"We pray for every church. We pray for every pastor...," prayed Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church pastor Alyn Waller.

On Friday afternoon, leaders held citywide prayer vigils outside churches hoping to send the collective message, enough is enough.

"But it's also important that we follow up our prayers with our hands and our feet," Waller said.

Leaders said they want to make community members a part of these discussions going forward.

Democratic lawmakers called on their colleagues across the aisle to help get some of the gun reform legislation to the governor's desk.
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