A Sunday night shootout at a pick-up football game brought people who are fed up with crime to Dallas City Hall on Tuesday.
Five people were wounded in the shooting at the Juanita Craft Recreation Center in South Dallas, including a pregnant woman. There were dozens of witnesses, but police say very few of them have come forward.
City leaders and community activists say increasing safety goes beyond just putting more officers on the streets. They’re insisting that change must start within the community, and are implementing plans to combat the rising crime.
“We need the community's help,” Kevin Felder, the city councilman who represents district seven, said. “Everyone has a role to play.”
The South Dallas and Buckner Terrace communities met with their city representatives to discuss ways to combat crime. One of the first priorities is to target nuisance properties with high crime rates.
“We're going to be going door to door and meeting those neighbors,” Felder said. “We're going to be talking to the apartment managers to find out what is their criteria for renting to the people that are living there because obviously the criteria must not be very high.”
Kelvin McGee, one of the witnesses of the shooting, attended the Tuesday meeting. He said that when the shooting started, he just froze up.
“I escaped by the grace of God because when the bullets rained down, I didn't have enough strength in me or something just stopped me from dropping to the ground, I just stood there,” McGee said.
McGee and his sons, who were playing in the football game, were not hurt. But they’re concerned about the response to the shooting. McGee said that he called 911 three times, but was put on hold each time.
After the meeting, McGee met with Dallas police who took his number and told him they'd look into what happened. Still, McGee agrees that change must come from inside the community. Because of what he has seen in the neighborhood, McGee started a non-profit last year that aims to mentor teen boys and teach them trade skills.
“Our young kids don't have any structured activities so therefore, they come up playing with guns and mimicking what they see in the streets,” McGee said.
Family members of the pregnant woman who was shot said that she is conscious and talking, but still in a lot of pain. She was supposed to graduate Monday from Skyline High School, but her family accepted her diploma on her behalf while she's still in the hospital.
Her baby is also okay, and due in July. Three other victims remain in the hospital in stable condition.