DENVER (CBS4) – A shooting at a house party Saturday in Denver has left one young man dead and another injured. It’s the fifth young person in Denver to lose their life to gun violence in 6 days. 

Since July 6, five 20-year-olds or younger have lost their lives to gun violence. It’s a shocking rise in crime that has left youth across the Denver metro area in disbelief.

“Tayvion, he was my little cousin,” said Lumumba Sayers, Jr. 

Sayers, a young man himself, knows a few of the recent victims of gun violence. Tayvion Washington, 19, Sayers’ cousin, was shot and killed on July 6 around 12:45 a.m. in North Park Hill.

“Just him graduating high school and getting killed afterword it’s like … it’s draining. It hurts a lot. He really wasn’t that type of person to be out like that,” said Sayers.

Sayers’ father Lumumba Sayers helps run a youth advocacy program called Heavy Hands Heavy Hearts. The community center uses boxing as a way to reach youth. Following a fifth death Saturday, Sayers reached out to his father to see what he and his peers could do.

His father believes the coronavirus pandemic played a role in the increase in violence. Especially because programs like Heavy Hands Heavy Hearts had to temporarily close.

“They were able to bring the youth together to be able to squash some of their beefs that were going on in the city and when COVID hit, we had to stop everything they were doing,” said Lumumba Sayers. 

Lumumba Sayers and Lumumba Sayers Jr.

Lumumba Sayers, left, and Lumumba Sayers Jr., right (credit: CBS)

After a meeting Sunday at the community center, Sayers Jr., along with his peers, decided to push forward with an effort called Gloves Up, Guns Down. 

“We’re trying to de-escalate a lot of situations without telling people ‘No, you can’t do this.’ I call it a compromise,” said Nehemiah Holiday, one of the young men working alongside Sayers Jr. 

While there is a lot of work to do to, they say with support from the community and the adults in their lives, they are confident their efforts will make a noticeable difference.

“These are the next generation. These are the leaders in the community. But we have to give them the opportunity to be able to lead, to be able to go out and do what it is that they need to do and to support them in their efforts and their movements,” said Lumumba Sayers.

Police are seeking information in all of the cases. Here are the names of the most recent young victims: 

– Tayvion Washington, 19, killed July 6
– Kalani Hayter, 20, killed July 7
– Xzavier Collier, 14, killed July 8
– Moses Chaney Harris, 15, killed July 8
– Atchison Way Victim (waiting to confirm name), 17, killed July 11

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Jamie Leary

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