Concern and outrage. That’s how Wichita’s Police Chief says he feels after two gang-related shootings injured two young children this week.
One of the incidents happened on a playground in South Wichita.
“Put the guns down,” says Jacob Villa, the owner of Villa Boxing Club. “Now you are talking about innocent kids getting shot.”
When the victims become children there becomes a new sense of urgency.
“It just lets us know that it is real and this is what is going on,” adds Villa.
Villa’s boxing gym sits right across the street from where a 2-year-old was shot last night. He says he built the gym to create a better, safer community.
“It becomes disheartening whenever you try and try and try and then something like this happens that close to home. You can either run from it or even try even harder,” explains Villa.
Police say they’ve also had enough after another gang related shooting this week in North Wichita left a 7-month old injured by shrapnel.
“We need a lot of help,” says Lt. Jeff Gilmore of the Gang Investigations Unit. “It is often the innocent bystanders that becomes the victims in these crimes.”
Police say they’re contacting more than 360 people who they know are in gangs, but say because this is likely the result of a gang feud, it hasn’t been easy.
“We are not getting a lot of cooperation from these victims families in these and we are working very hard,” explains Gilmore.
As Villa looks out at the neighborhood he cares for, and police try and protect it, both say the difference could be you.
Villa says, “There is not a lot that is offered here in this neighborhood and in this area. I do my part and I wish there were more people who would step up and help out.”
Police say the Wichita Crime Task Force is using all available resources in the investigations as well as partnering