Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence Members React to Shooting

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COLUMBIA - Members of the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence voiced their concerns Monday about a shooting involving two teenage boys early Sunday.

Chris Campbell is a member of that task force. He said this incident illustrates youth violence is not exclusive to a particular area of the city, "I mean, this is a community problem," he said. "It's happening in every neighborhood in Columbia. It's not just stuck to one area. We really need to get involved in our community and step up and be the fathers, grandfathers and mentors and do something about this problem, it's everybody's problem."

Lorenzo Lawson is also a member of the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence. He said youth violence tends to stem from low economic status, "From my understanding, the majority of these crimes is economically-driven." Lawson added the community needs to provide low-cost and engaging activities to curb the violence, "If we can provide some positive alternatives that they really want to participate in, they will. Then, a lot of these things will stop happening."

The incident occurred early Sunday morning. Columbia police responded to the area of Stadium Boulevard and Bernadette Drive around 12:37 a.m. after several neighbors reported hearing shots and cars fleeing. About ten minutes later, University Hospital reported two teenage males with gunshot wounds had been dropped off. The boys are 17 and 18-years-old, but their names have not been released.

Several vehicles not involved in the shooting were struck by stray bullets, but there were no additional injuries reported.

Columbia police does not have a suspect description yet.

KOMU reached out to University Hospital, but the teens' conditions are still unknown. KOMU also contacted Columbia police, but Sgt. Joe Bernhard said there was no more information available.

Columbia police urges people with more information to call (573) 875-TIPS.