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Sixth-Grader Shot and Killed Hours After Attending Anti-Violence Cookout in the District

July 6, 2020

On Saturday, an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed in Southeast D.C., in the seventh gun homicide to happen in the first four days of July, according to the Washington Post

Davon McNeal was hit by a stray bullet while heading to a relative’s home, according to media reports. Family members shared that Davon loved football, aspired to go to college, and promised to buy his mother a house. Earlier in the day, he attended a Fourth of July cookout organized by his mother Crystal McNeal, a local violence interrupter.

Violence interruption is one of many valuable tools used by local gun violence intervention programs to stop daily gun violence. Programs like the Alliance of Concerned Men, Cure The Streets, DC SAFE, and NO MURDERS DC apply localized approaches to gun violence prevention that are well-suited to address gun violence in the hardest-hit neighborhoods. During the pandemic, violence interrupters’ mission is two-fold: continuing the essential work of preventing gun violence, while also helping with food and PPE distribution to underserved communities. Read more about the value of street outreach during the pandemic here.

During the pandemic, many cities’ budgets are strained and funding for these local intervention groups could be in jeopardy. In D.C., residents are anticipating $607 million in cuts to the city’s budget. The D.C. chapter of Moms Demand Action is advocating for sustained funding for community groups that have seen success in interrupting the cycle of violence and are saving lives from both gun violence and COVID-19.

D.C. has the highest rate of gun homicides in the country. According to the Washington Post, 89 people have been killed in the city this year — a 17 percent increase from this time last year, which ended with a decade-high number of killings. Nationally, firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens.

If you have any questions about gun violence in D.C., or would like to speak to a volunteer with the D.C. chapter of Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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