WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — This past weekend, Wichita police responded to three shootings, four drive-bys and 21 shots fired. Gun violence is increasing across the country, especially among kids and teens.
New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research has found that guns became the leading cause of death among U.S. kids in 2020. Alan Garcia from Ulysses, Kansas, lost his little brother to gun violence just over a year ago.
“I was just getting out of the gym, and my dad called me, and he was just asking about my brother, and I’m like I cuz he had assumed that I had brought him with me and I didn’t. And he told me to call and ask around because someone was saying that he got shot,” said García.
Alan’s brother, Christopher, was hanging out at the park with friends.
“Somebody was playing with the gun, and which was one of his friends, and the gun went off, and it struck my brother in his neck, hitting the third and fourth vertebrae hit him right here, and it came out,” he added.
Christopher was airlifted to Ascension Via Christi hospital in Wichita, where days later, he died. He was just 14 years old.
“It’s just when you lose somebody like that, there is nothing that can fill that void that you have in your heart. It’s a pain that I wouldn’t even wish on nobody, not even my worst enemy,” continued García.
According to the research by the CDC, from 2019 to 2020, the rate of firearm-related deaths for young people aged 1 to 19 increased by nearly 30%. The increase is believed to be connected to a rise in gun ownership during the pandemic.
“It’s just a matter of the parents, you know, putting your guns away, lock them up. Don’t give nobody the codes. Don’t let kids have their own guns at that age,” he concluded.
In 2020 more than 4,300 kids and teens died due to guns. García said losing his brother changed everything for his family. They now take advantage of every moment they can spend together.