DENVER (CBS4) — Safe Haven Denver held a candlelight vigil Monday evening and asked the community to come together and take a stand against violence. The number of teen deaths from gun violence is on the rise in Denver.
Figures released by the Denver Police Department indicated one died in 2015, but that number jumped to six last year.
The information comes in the wake of a deadly start to 2020.
“In response to multiple tragedies across our city Safe Haven Denver is organizing this candlelight vigil,” Safe Haven Denver officials wrote on Facebook. “We are asking for the support of all members of the community. This is your city! These are your people!”
The faith-based effort was held at Ruby Hill. Officials said it would be a a time of prayer and unity.
Twice in 24 hours during the past week officials at Safe Haven responded to a report of a teen victim of violence. In southwest Denver, they ministered to the family and community of what appears to be a gang murder.
And they went to Montbello where a 17-year-old girl was killed and her brother arrested.
For Pastor Glenn Garcia, it’s been a busy time.
“The community at large gets traumatized when any shooting, violence erupts in any given neighborhood,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.
The pastor says when there is violence the two dozen churches come outside of their walls and go into the community. The program was started two years ago under Mayor Michael Hancock.
Hancock told CBS4, “They learn that this is a safe space if you need to go somewhere to seek support and protect because your life or health may be in danger.”
He said the crimes seem to involve younger people which he blames in part on angry social media comments that touch off violence.
The object of Safe Haven is to prevent the need for more vigils.