Madison leaders implore end to gun violence, after Garner Park shooting

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 9:47 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison community and government leaders say partnership is key in ending gun violence, the day after a shooting at Garner Park.

“I think that we as a community have to just have zero tolerance for gun violence,” mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said. “This is just really not acceptable.”

Tuesday night, shooters opened fire on a crowd of more than 300 people at a memorial event for a recent homicide victim, according to Madison police. Police also say three people were shot and two more were injured.

At a press conference Wednesday, Police Chief Vic Wahl said two people were taken into custody, though not in connection to the shooting. “The gun violence that we’re seeing here in Madison is really at an unprecedented level,” he said.

Describing gun violence as a “multifaceted problem,” the mayor said in an interview with NBC15, “One of the facets is the availability of guns. We need the state, we need the federal government to step up and help us with common sense gun laws to make sure that guns are not as available in our community.”

When asked about the tangible ways she is working to curb gun violence right now, the mayor described looking into programs that have been successful in other cities and tailoring them to fit Madison’s needs. She also said she is working alongside police and the group Focused Interruption Coalition (FIC).

As CEO of FIC, Anthony Cooper helps gun violence victims. He said he thinks about long-term solutions.

“When we talk about generational trauma and things of that nature, everyone’s impacted,” he said. “We have to be able to connect with those family members. We have to do that now.”

Cooper said community groups like his own must work with government channels, “but also be able to push the systems that slow things down as well.”

He described that seeking change through this collaboration is “not happening fast enough.”

“When you’re working within a system, it’s a slow process,” Cooper said, adding that the mayor plans on speaking with a county leader to “push those things along a whole lot faster.”

Officers say they are continuing their investigation, after finding more than 60 shell casings and several firearms. According to an update, they found a loaded handgun in a trash can.

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