Lexington community members call on city to do more to prevent gun violence

Lexington saw another gun-related homicide over the weekend.
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 10:14 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington saw another gun-related homicide over the weekend.

Saturday afternoon, police responded to Unity Worship Center on Haggard Court. They found 35-year-old Joseph Richardson and a female victim suffering from gunshot wounds. Both were taken to the hospital where Richardson died.

Police say, at the time of the shooting, a funeral was being held for Malcolm Long, who also lost his life to gun violence.

People in the community have been calling on city leaders to do more to prevent gun violence.

The community group BUILD is urging city leaders to implement the Group Intervention Strategy to prevent future shootings. However, Mayor Linda Gorton has opposed it, saying GVI could target communities of color. BUILD members say it’s worth trying as shootings in Lexington continue.

“What can it hurt at this point? If it saves one life, certainly it’s worth it,” said Bryna Reed, BUILD volunteer.

After another violent weekend, Mayor Gorton, Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers and other leaders broke ground Monday afternoon on a new East Sector Roll Call Center at the corner of Saron Drive and Clearwater Way.

City leaders say it will help improve public safety.

Mayor Gorton says the new facility will help the city save money since it’ll sit on a portion of Veterans Park, which the city already owns. The current East Sector Roll Center is located on Centre Parkway in a building the city has rented for the past 20 years.

Gorton says the new roll call center will span 7,800 square feet, providing much-needed space for training, a larger roll call room, offices, and a bike room.

Chief Weathers noted the location will put officers closer to major traffic arteries and neighborhoods along Man O’ War Blvd.

“Nobody is dispatched from here. Our officers are out patrolling, but we hope the access here will make it easier for people to come to us and bring us information as well,” Chief Weathers said.

We asked the chief if he felt there were too many guns on the streets.

“Me, personally, I think there’s room for smarter gun laws,” Chief Weathers said.

Mayor Gorton says the city can’t do anything about gun laws on the local level, but she supports having background checks.

“Some folks would say a background check won’t necessarily help with someone who’s a criminal, who wants to get a gun illegally, but it’ll help a little bit,” Mayor Gorton said. “Everything we can do helps a little bit more.”

Gorton says the city can only do so much. She explained people must come forward to help police solve crimes.

“The police need facts,” Gorton said. “The police can’t operate on ‘well, I think this,’ or ‘I think that.’ They need facts.”

Police say construction on the new roll call center will start in the new few weeks. They hope the building will be complete within a year. The city has partnered with Brandstetter Carroll Inc. and Rising Sun Developing for the $4.2 million project.

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