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Baton Rouge pastor, community members call for end to gun violence after string of shootings

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 7:03 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - People within the Baton Rouge community made an impassioned plea Monday, Jan. 10, to end gun violence after a string of shootings over the weekend.

BRPD is investigating four separate shootings that occurred Sunday, Jan. 9.

Storm Ankrom, who lives near where one of the shootings happened, said this has become his new normal.

“You know, it’s the lifestyle people are living,” said Ankrom. “When you get caught up in a dangerous game, then it’s consequences to that. What goes up must come down.”

“I know some gangsters that pray every day. I don’t know how that may sound to y’all or to the people but I know some cold-blooded gangsters, some real thugs that pray every day just so they can make it home at night,” he explained.

Dale Flowers, pastor at New Sunlight Baptist Church, said the key to solving this problem starts with prayer but it will have to take a lot of work.

“I think, I know the church has the answer,” said Flowers.

He believes there’s a disconnect between the church and certain communities that have contributed to the rise of crime. He wants to see more community involvement, forums, and programs but he said it will have to take a group effort from the city, BRPD, and other community groups to pull this off.

“Everyone’s going to have to come together with one agenda and that agenda is to do what’s best for all of Baton Rouge. Until we do that, it’s sad to say, but it’s not going to change,” added Flowers.

He said a lot of their community work was detoured because of COVID but he admits this was a problem well before the pandemic. He’s issuing a challenge to other faith-based leaders to step up to the plate.

“We did not reach out, some of us, did not reach out the way we should have and we’ve turned some folks off because we’ve not really shown that love that looks beyond sin, that looks beyond. So, you messed up. But I’m not going to throw you away. It’s now time to bring you in to hug you, to love you, and let you know that God still loves you and God’s still concerned about you. And as a church and as a whole, we didn’t do that,” he said.

He also noted this is something that has to change now and not later.

“We got to come together and embrace the community and not be just a building in the community but to be a part of the community. Again, until that changes, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting,” he reiterated.

Anyone with any information about the shootings is urged to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at 225-389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.

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