AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, along with other leaders in the community hosted a town hall meeting Sunday night following two violent shootings near Aurora Public high schools.
The department tweeted Sunday it is asking the community and parents to be involved to help address the youth violence that is impacting the city.
“Whatever they’re facing we want to know and we want to hear about it,” Rufus Lewis, the president of the Jurisdiction of Colorado youth department for the Church of God and Christ said.
The forum was an open mic for teens to express their concerns and ask questions of their leaders.
“It starts with you. It doesn’t start with me. I’m almost 18 years old. I’ve seen the drugs, I’ve seen the guns,” a teen said.
Several different organizations, helping fight teen violence spoke and extended their voices to the teens in attendance. There were a significant amount more parents at the meeting than students. But leaders asked the youth to sit in the front to show the parents who supported them.
“We need to do it now while the incidents are fresh in their minds,” Lewis said.
Many teens publicly shared their first experiences with guns and drugs.
“The trigger was pulled but nothing came out, I was speechless,” one teen said, sharing his experience of being held at gunpoint.
Students also asked how they could turn weapons into police without getting into trouble. Wilson said there is no program yet for that but they are looking to start one.
Wilson also gave an update on both shootings that happened last week. She said they weren’t connected.
“It doesn’t look like the Hinkley shooting is connected to the Central shooting, so we have a problem,” Wilson said.
Being at the forefront of the investigation, Wilson spoke directly to those involved and potentially being arrested for the crimes.
“There is a gang nexus to this Hinkley shooting. For those who didn’t care and just shoot in the middle of the day, while kids were returning from lunch. We’re coming for you, we are,” Wilson said.