DENVER (CBS4) – Three teens have been killed by gun violence in Denver in less than two months. Now those grieving families and community members are working together to try to find a way to stop the violence.
The first shooting took the life of 14-year-old Aiden Lawrence in August.
On Wednesday, Aiden would have celebrated his 15th birthday. Instead, his mother, Autumn Lawrence, gathered with his friends to talk about her loss.
“Somewhere else this is happening, what do we do to get ahead of the problem, that is my goal here,” she said.
Her message to them was simple: stop the violence.
At the same time just a few miles away, that same message brought a different community together for Marquez. His mother, Patricia Lopez, fought back tears talking about the death of her son.
“Today it was my son. Next week it could be someone else, and I’m sure it’s not going to stop until this stops. We need to stop this violence,” she said.
The recent rise in gun violence among youth in Denver and surrounding areas prompted organizations like Struggle of Love to respond, bringing resources into neighborhoods and support to families after tragedy.
Joel Hodge is the founder of Struggle of Love.
“We are trying to get us all together, join forces, figure out what’s best for a community, what’s best for our babies. Sometimes we just have to sit back and listen to them, and they’ll tell you what they need,” Hodge said.
The focus from everyone now is to keep it from happening again.
“There are mothers out there that share the same sentiments, who have the same problems going on right now, who are sharing the same grief. I don’t want anyone to fathom what this feels like right now,” Lawrence said.
The community gathering on Wednesday night is also known as a safe haven. It is a partnership with the city’s Gang Reduction Initative and different faith groups. They provide a safe location where anyone can go to get support after a violent incident.