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Dayton plans anti-gun violence push after police shooting of 16-year-old boy, other shootings

Eight people stand behind and next to a wooden podium with a  City Hall seal on it. The people are in suits and business attire, the wall behind them is beige.
Kathryn Mobley
Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims, Jr. urges city residents to tell police information they know connected to recent shootings as well as to hot spots of gun violence. County and community groups stand in support of this effort.

The city of Dayton is exploring a national program to reduce gun violence after a rash of recent shootings, including the police killing a 16-year-old boy over the weekend.

Here's what we know:

  • Police shot and killed a 16-year-old boy on Saturday, June 29, in the 500 block of Negley Place. According to police, they got a tip about a party in a vacant house. Body camera footage released on Monday appears to show an officer asking the boy to talk as he walks in the road. The boy begins to run, then turns back toward officers.
  • Two officers fired a total of eight times, according to Dayton Police Chief Kamran Afzal. The teen was shot once in the left shoulder. He died at a local hospital.
  • Police say they found a loaded gun in the grass near the teen's body. The gun was modified to be fully automatic, police say, and other weapons were confiscated from the vacant home.
  • The officers involved in the shooting each have six years of service on the Dayton Police force.
  • The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation. The Dayton Police Professional Standards Bureau is conducting a separate administrative investigation.
  • Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. held a news conference on Monday saying the city plans to consider an anti-violence program used in other cities and calling on residents to get involved.
  • The city has seen more than six shootings since mid-June, with three fatalities. Most are connected to pop-up parties in and around vacant homes. One shooting involved an 11-year-old boy, several others have been injured and one person remains in critical condition.

Mims wants to launch a new program called Violence Interruption. It's part of the national Cure Violence movement.

"We cannot accept this as part of our culture, especially our culture as far as our youth is concerned," Mims said.

Mims says at the core, the city, Montgomery County and Dayton Public Schools will provide area youth with more positive activity options and spaces.

Numerous community leaders attended Monday's press conference in support of the mayor's call for residents to share information with police about situations before someone else is killed. That included the NAACP, Dayton Public Schools, Omega CDC, The Boys and Girls Club, and city and county commissioners.

The Boys and Girls Club will extend their hours until 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 2-3, for teens, including members and non-members.

"We'll have therapists, social-emotional development programs, we will have snacks and dinner and all kinds of cools activities for teens," CEO Crystal Allen said.

The Dayton school district has several summer programs going on. At several sites, about 100 incoming freshmen are spending time in their new high school.

"In the beginning part of the day students learn how to be freshmen," DPS Superintendent David Lawrence explained. "The second half is learning about their locker, lunch, credits and how you graduate and what your career pathways are."

At the district's international school, students are learning about health and nutrition services.

"So we have probably 60 bus routes this summer, where we're transporting kids all over the place to try to keep them off the streets," Lawrence said.

Meanwhile, municipal and community leaders are urging parents, guardians and churches to be more involved in the lives of their youth.

"This involvement may help steer youth away from dangerous situations," Mims said.

The mayor also asked all schools and community groups to promote conflict resolution training.

"Children need mentorship. They need conflict resolution skills. They need the skills that help them understand that they have value. They need safe places to play to be kids. They also need to have active support from adult caregivers," Mims said.

Dayton city leaders are now looking for money to support a sustained anti-gun violence program.

Kathryn Mobley is an award-winning broadcast journalist, crafting stories for more than 30 years. She’s reported and produced for TV, NPR affiliate and for the web. Mobley also contributes to several area community groups. She sings tenor with World House Choir (Yellow Springs), she’s a board member of the Beavercreek Community Theatre and volunteers with two community television operations, DATV (Dayton) and MVCC (Centerville).

Cell phone: (937) 952-9924