ONE Lexington aims to curb gun violence, address trauma

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Posted at 6:31 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 19:30:37-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Another Lexington family is overwhelmed with grief after a deadly shooting this past weekend

Lexington Police said 28-year-old Pietro Swain was shot and killed on East Fifth Street in Lexington Saturday night.

According to police data, it is the 32nd homicide in the city so far this year.

Of the 14 suspects identified in those killings, four are juveniles.

City program, ONE Lexington, is working hard to address the root causes of this type of violence so that it doesn't happen again.

"There is a lot of pain out there," Larry Johnson, with ONE Lexington, said.

Johnson explained that the root issue of some of the violence is likely connected to trauma.

"Trauma can lead to outbursts, behavioral issues, even leads to violence," he said. "And so when you look at our young people and what they have experienced with the anxiety and frustration, the increased frustration that they're experiencing during COVID, it's coming out in a lot of negative ways."

He said there is also a lack of male mentorship for young people.

That was addressed Saturday when ONE Lexington put out a call for "100 Black men" to attend a youth engagement forum.

Johnson said more than 100 men showed up

Next, comes action.

"We are actually surveying them as to what they are interested in doing," Johnson said. "There will be opportunities to volunteer with some of the programs that are out there, there will be opportunities for mentorship, there will be opportunities for them to just come into the community and do community walks to show a presence in the community so that our young people will know that they care."

ONE Lexington is also providing victim services. Johnson said that means doing everything from helping a victim's family with relocation if it's necessary, to counseling and simply having a presence to show them the community and government care.

It can also help prevent retaliation.

"When there is a shooting, in order to prevent retaliatory issues, what we've tried to do is address the needs of the victims," Johnson said.

These programs are designed to help those who have suffered heal and to put an end to the cycle of trauma and violence in Lexington.