‘There’s a gang violence plague everywhere’: Teens speak out after Aurora shootings

Local News

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Aurora’s top cop said the department has made “substantial steps” in the Nome Park and Hinkley High School shootings from last week. 

Chief Vanessa Wilson said she hopes all of them will be in jail within the next 24 hours.

She made the announcement at a community forum in Aurora Monday. Dozens were in the room, including FOX31’s Joshua Short.

State Senator Rhonda Fields led a long list of speakers and panelists in attendance at Monday afternoon’s event at the Opportunity Center on Dayton Street. Many viewers have been hearing a lot from civic and community leaders over the last week. This is why we heard from and focused on teens only.

“I literally had a shooting in the alley behind my house,” Jailan Cook, 16, told Joshua Short. He and two other teen males we spoke with —  Andre Coleman, 16, and Jayden Randon, 15 — said they’re tired and fed up with all of the violence. 

“There’s a gang violence plague everywhere,” Randon said. This, the very reason, so many gathered to talk gun and youth violence. But these teens said it’s not just happening here.

“We’re not saying it’s normal but we see so much violence and hear so much stuff about violence, it does become a part of our every day life,” Coleman said as the meeting continued in a room not too far away.

These teens are around the same ages as those involved in two terrifying shootings near or at Aurora schools last week. Still no word on a motive but police say it’s gang-related.

“It is social media that’s causing this chaos to happen,” Randon said, providing his own perspective on gun violence in general.

“This dude you don’t even know couldn’t have did nothing so serious about where you’re from or what color you wear to the point you wanna take his head off or put him in the grave. Like it’s never that serious,” Coleman said, using hyperbole to make a point.

“Take offense if someone is taking your education. That’s serious but someone beefing with you over your color, that’s not serious,” Coleman said.

Meanwhile, we also spoke to a high school junior who was inside of Hinkley High School when shots were fired. She was confused about what to do or where to go during the school’s lockdown and said school officials were not as helpful as they could’ve been. 

She said she and her friend just came back to campus from lunch. 

“I felt like at that time we went into lockdown that made it worse because no one responded to us,” Arianna said. She did not want us to use her last name in this story.

“My friend and I called [the office] multiple times,” she said.

The superintendent of Aurora Public Schools is responding to similar stories. At Monday’s forum, someone else asked Supt. Rico Munn about teacher training due to confusion during the lockdown.

“In traumatic events, sometimes people don’t necessarily maintain their training, they don’t necessarily recall their training,” Munn said adding, “so you have to find the right balance in making sure all the adults know what they’re supposed to do.”

Munn did make clear they have meetings after incidents like this to learn what could’ve been done to better prepare all parties involved.

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