AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Aurora’s interim police chief, Art Acevedo, spoke frankly about his frustration with youth violence in and around his city at a news conference Saturday night.

The conference followed a deadly shooting that killed a teenage boy in the parking lot outside Dillard’s at the Aurora Town Center mall. The victim’s age and identity are still unknown, but the interim chief spoke about the problem of juvenile violence.

“Juvenile crime, these are young people, is a huge issue. Gun violence involving young people is a huge issue,” Acevedo said. “And quite honestly, the fact that we are chasing these young people, we are arresting these young people, and they’re going in one door and out the other, and this is what happens.”

The deadly shooting at the mall was not the only youth gun violence of the day, either. Acevedo said there was a carjacking on Havana Street involving four juveniles around 2 p.m. that ended up in Denver.

Acevedo said the victim in that carjacking was shot at, but not injured. The suspects went to Denver and the car they were in crashed during a police pursuit. The suspects took off after the crash, and Acevedo said a boy and three girls were taken into custody with the assistance of the Denver Police Department.

Acevedo said police believe the suspects were involved in a crime spree over the past couple of days and another armed carjacking in which the victim was shot.

Shooting on Syracuse Street

Law enforcement officials said juvenile suspects were involved in a person being shot in the face after an attempted carjacking in the 1100 block of Syracuse Street in Denver around 3 p.m.

While the investigation is in its early stages, police believe the two incidents are possibly connected. Police believe the victim in that shooting will survive.

Acevedo calls on legal system, lawmakers to step up

Acevedo made the point that police did their job by taking the four juveniles into custody but it’s what happens after that he’s calling for change.

“So we’re doing our job. But it’s time for the courts, the legislature to get serious about juvenile violence,” Acevedo said. “I want you to wait until someone important has a loved one shot or killed, is that what they’re waiting for to start putting these young people where they belong? Not out in the streets.”

A juvenile allegedly shot at Aurora officers in December and the gun used in that incident was traced to three homicides, Acevedo said. He said the kid was arrested, charged, tried and convicted and within a week or so back on the streets.

“I would just ask for the community to start speaking out. Start demanding accountability, and start demanding the legislature starts paying attention,” Acevedo said. “These are kids, but these are troubled kids, dangerous kids. And you cannot have them out on the street. Or sending them back to the streets where you are condemning them to death and to continued violence and to circumstances they probably don’t belong in.”

Kids involved in violence not just in Aurora

Acevedo stressed the youth violence problem isn’t just in Aurora and Denver. It has been reported in surrounding cities as well.

Just this past week there were at least two other crimes allegedly committed by juveniles, one resulting in death.

A juvenile male died after being shot in Longmont on Friday night, police said. Officers responded to shots fired at the Twin Peaks Square Shopping Center near the intersection of Nelson Road and Hover Street. A large group of people was there for what police called a “car meet up,” and police identified a suspect vehicle.

Police said several juveniles got in the suspect vehicle and took off. When police stopped the car, one juvenile got out and ran away. Police arrested the other juveniles who were later released.

Police then were called to a crash nearby of a vehicle that had struck a pole at the intersection of Hover and Nelson where they found a juvenile driver who had been shot, the Longmont Police Department said. The juvenile male later died at the hospital.

Fort Collins Police arrested a juvenile male after an alleged crime spree that started on March 20 in Loveland and ended in Fort Collins on March 23. The boy is accused of carjacking, robbery and kidnapping.