BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Members of the community gathered Wednesday at a town hall meeting for an opportunity to heal and offer new hope for the future beyond the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling.
The overall theme of the meeting, which was held at the Sunlight Baptist Church, was repairing relationships between law enforcement and members of the community in Baton Rouge to prevent future situations like this from happening.
No topic was off limits, including looking into Louisiana's incarceration rate, identifying opportunities to effectively communicate with local, state and federal leaders, and uncovering new ways to bring about positive change in the community rather than fuel hatred and misunderstanding.
The goal of the town hall was to host an open conversation about the officer-involved shooting while offering possible solutions to move forward. Those in attendance say how the public continues to respond is crucial to how the world will view Baton Rouge.
"There's a lot of grief right now, a lot of anger right now and there's a lot of people that have seen similar circumstances like this happen time and time again across the country. It really is kind of a pandemic amongst our community," said Richard Montgomery.
Some of Alton Sterling's family members also attended the event and said it is important that members of the community do not respond with violence.
"America is watching Baton Rouge right now. They're watching to see how we handle this. If we're going to do the right thing, is it going to be different than some of these other cities in America, and I believe we will," said Elvin Sterling, Jr.
Many people walked away from the meeting still reeling from the past 48 hours but hopeful in the investigation and optimistic about how the city will continue to respond.