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Family, friends of shooting victim hold community conversation to fight youth violence

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 10:48 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The deadly shooting at Fayette Mall was just the latest in a string of violence with teens as the target and one that hit too close to home for a man when it claimed the life of his nephew, Kenneth Wayne Bottoms Jr.

“Three or four teenagers dead in one week, that’s unacceptable,” Sharod Clay said. “Out of the last four homicides, I knew two of the kids, and I didn’t expect it to be none of them.”

Now, Clay has enlisted family friend Demetrius Gill and is calling on the community to fight for change.

“I worked with Kenny, and the last conversation I had was trying to get him in the studio to make some music and then I woke up one day and he’s not here anymore,” Gill said. “We’re trying to put an end to that cycle and get better things out of these kids.”

They say that starts with a conversation and an open invitation to the Unity Worship Center where they’ll talk about a new program they’re hoping to get off the ground called From Boys to Young Men, targeting middle school-aged kids to get to them before they can get to the streets, as well as any other ideas community members may have to target youth violence and take the crosshairs off the kids.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, if you’ve got ideas, if we all come together, we can take Lexington back and let our kids grow up,” Clay said.

“It’s not for us to preach to them or none of that, it’s for us to listen to them,” Gill said. “Listen to what they got going on and help them to solve the problems they’re going through and stop them from going out there and becoming the next Kenny.”

That meeting will be held Wednesday night at 5 p.m. at the Unity Worship Center on Haggard Court.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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